Holywell Learning Campus

This new ambitious £27.6m development in Flintshire is a mixture of single, two and three storey buildings, with associated play areas, community hub, sports and car parking facilities. The single-storey primary school accommodates 315 pupils, replacing the current local Infants and Junior Schools, whilst the two and three storey Secondary School accommodates over 600 student places, replacing the existing High School.

Project Details
  • Client

    Flintshire County Council/Galliford Try

  • Architect

    Lovelock Mitchell Architects

Waterman was appointed to provide civil, structural, building services and environmental consultancy services by contractor Galliford Try, working alongside Architect Lovelock Mitchell to create this geometrically challenging design for the client, Flintshire County Council, whilst providing a low energy, naturally ventilated school building for the future.

We faced numerous challenges, not least of which was the steeply sloping site, requiring over 90,000m³ of earthworks in order to create the development plateaus. Phase 1 extended to within a few metres of the existing high school, necessitating innovative temporary works solutions to retain the 5m level difference, whilst ensuring the existing school remained operational. Piled foundations were used to minimise differential settlement across the cut and filled areas.

The building’s super-structure is created using a steel frame with composite metal deck floors to achieve the long clear spans and complex geometry which includes the elliptical form of the central hub and atrium. The 4-storey high atrium was considered the most complicated section of the whole scheme, with classrooms on the first and second floors opening onto substantial balconies which cantilevered out over the atrium, creating a column free space at ground floor. The balconies in turn support 16m span link bridges, connecting both sides of the atrium.

The use of 3D modelling was essential in resolving the geometrical issues and complex junctions, fully integrating the structure and building services within the architectural envelope. The 3D earthworks modelling was also fundamental in achieving a cut and fill balance on this phased redevelopment.

The project was delivered using BIM Level 2 protocols, winning ‘BIM Project of the Year 2016’ at the recent Constructing Excellence in Wales Awards, and achieving BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation. It has been acclaimed by the Welsh Education Authority as the standard upon which all future education projects should be delivered. The Constructing Excellence project review stated that ‘the Holywell Campus is a rare example of a project fully exploiting BIM to cut time and costs and maximise value, yielding benefits far beyond the construction phase’.

The main school buildings were delivered on programme in July 2016, with Phase 2 comprising demolition of the original school and completion of the external works handed over in May 2017.

Waterman’s engineering skills also contributed to the project  winning the Sustainability Award at the 2017 Constructing Excellence in Wales Awards.