Balloch Shared Campus, Burnside Crescent

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Balloch Shared Campus is a new state-of-the-art educational facility amalgamating three schools on a single site to co-locate in a modern and collaborative learning environment. The integration of the educational institutes provides pupils with a single, shared identity while clearly defining the distinct areas of the ASN School and the Early Learning and Childcare Centre.

Located in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, the 53,280 sq. ft campus represented a major investment in the educational offering for the area and was delivered by Morgan Sindall as part of a £16 million project. Completed in 2018 over 450 children have begun their education journey with a total of 21 flexible learning spaces, while the ASN has the capacity to assist 36 pupils with a range of additional needs.

The building’s facade is predominantly facing brick with punctured windows and a black monolith entrance feature to the centre. The rear of the building has a full height glass curtain walling to allow maximum light into the building, alongside coloured fibre cement board panelling to the games hall block. An aluminium standing seam roof is slightly pitched, allowing for the installation of solar panels to meet current energy saving targets.

Architect Holmes Miller specified Ibstock Birtley Olde English Brick in Buff due to its high quality, distressed appearance to contrast against the dark, modern cladding and glazing of the central area. Surrounded in a largely residential setting, the brickwork chosen replicates the homes nearby to create a welcoming campus for children to enjoy and feel confident within their surroundings.

The brickwork forms the two warm-coloured brick wings and helped to create a distinctive facade due to its red, oxidised colour and texture. The vision from Holmes Miller Architect was to reflect the harmonising of communities and schools coming together, with each brick symbolising each pupil as it builds a history within the new school walls.

Environmental sensitivity was also at the heart of the building’s specification, with Loch Lomond just a short distance from the campus. The relatively rough aesthetic of the brickwork was chosen to echo the appearance of the wildness of its local surrounding, resonating a rural feel within an urban setting.

The design and build contract was awarded to Morgan Sindall by West Dunbartonshire Council, through the LHC Schools and Community Buildings Framework. The framework supports the efficient construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings throughout Scotland. With multiple stakeholders across the three schools and the local authority, the framework procurement route afforded early-stage collaboration on design, budget and timescales. This enabled a successful delivery of the project.

Designers have used level two Building Information Modelling (BIM) practices to design the school. This has allowed the different disciplines involved in design and construction to share information, leading to greater efficiencies and coordination, as well as integrated cost and project time information.

Brickwork contractor: Morgan Sindall, 11 Woodhall, Motherwell ML1 4YT, 01698 738600

Client/Developer: Morgan Sindall