Is It A Good Time For A School Refurbishment?

06-04-2020

With the current climate of COVID-19, staying indoors is paramount for our safety and wellbeing. One major result of this lifestyle change is that students are no longer attending school and instead adapting to learning at home. Whilst this is an uncertain time, we want to encourage everybody to feel optimistic towards future possibilities. Focusing on improving the learning environment of students is particularly important as these times have emphasised how immersed students are within their school life, so a school refurbishment will be something exciting for students to look forward to.

Why should I consider a refurbishment now?

With most schools currently unoccupied, this means there is less opportunity for upheaval if you decide to start or continue with a project. With school refurbishments typically taking place over the summer, this means it is a very busy time for the team to ensure that the project is complete by September. However, taking the opportunity to start the design process this Spring allows for more time for the project to be complete for both current and new students when they return for a new academic year.

What can Pinnacle Furniture offer?

Safety of our employees and clients are our top priority.  Following the Government’s advice on social distancing, where sites are still open, extra precautions are in place whilst conducting site surveys and completing any necessary photography or CAD plans. We like to keep our clients continually up to date with project progress. With our skills in VR and walkthroughs, we understand the importance of visualisation and well-designed space which can be achieved through online platforms. We are utilising video conferencing services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to enable client engagement and complete any required designs, concepts and quotes for clients.  Currently we are working with schools to cost a variety of learning spaces including washrooms, science laboratories and Sixth Form centres.

What are the benefits?

Now more than ever, design that promotes a sense of place and collaboration is essential for student learning and public spaces need to be treated like a home. Balancing zones of individual concentration and collaborative workspaces is important to reflect how students are currently working. Designers need to revaluate the ways in which students use spaces as we will see a shift towards technology and antibacterial fabrics and finishes. According to Architectural Digest (2020) they say that “COVID-19 [is] speeding up development of all types of touch-less technology—automatic doors, voice-activated elevators [and] hands-free light switches and temperature controls”. [1] This identifies that design needs to reassess student considerations and move away from traditional classroom environments and look at how furniture and space planning can aid the learning process.

What projects are we currently working on?

Pinnacle have recently been awarded the FF&E design contract for Northwood College Science Building and Sixth Form Pavillion. The new science centre aims to improve facilities and includes, 9 hi-tech science laboratories, 1 junior laboratory, cutting edge equipment and naturally lit classrooms. To enhance the school’s sixth form facilities, they are proposing dedicated space on the fourth floor of the new building. This will provide an entrance to the sixth form, a large common room, quiet study space, large seminar room and staff facilities.

Image source: Northwood College For Girls Design Concept

All our design is being carried out via Microsoft Teams in order to minimise the need for unnecessary journeys and contact. Video calls is a useful alternative to face-to-face meetings and the ability to share screens enhances collaboration between each stakeholder.

Overall, we want to assure everyone to not put a project on hold because of COVID-19 but to take advantage of the opportunity to get your design completed with more stakeholder engagement whilst there is less teaching pressure. We may not be in the office, but we are always available to discuss any plans you may have. Contact us here to speak to one of our helpful team members today!

Sources:

[1] How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change the Built Environment, 2020, Architectural Digest

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