University to enhance nursery provision

Work is due to begin on a new pre-school facility on a prominent site on the University of Cumbria’s campus in Lancaster

Architectural and planning consultancy Cassidy + Ashton has secured planning permission for a new 80-place nursery building that will begin construction on site at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus in May. The company designed the single storey, 325 sqm timber-frame facility as a replacement for the existing 56-place nursery on the campus, which is currently operating out of a pre-fabricated building. The scheme will see the nursery create 30 new places for children aged between two and four years and move to a much more prominent location on campus in a purpose-built, permanent structure.

It is being co-funded by Lancashire County Council and the existing childcare provider and nursery manager Philippa Perks. It will offer a contemporary learning environment accommodating up to 40 children aged two years along with up to 40 children aged three/four. Facilities will include play/learning areas, sensory rooms and children’s toilet/change facilities along with secure outdoor play areas. The building will also include staff toilet and change facilities, admin areas, a kitchen and a staff room.

Garstang-based timber frame-makers Lawrence Taylor Construction will be responsible for building the new facility, which is due for completion in October 2015. The building will feature timber and smooth render panel cladding along with areas of sandstone to complement the surrounding built environment. The design also incorporates a flat roof and grey PVC windows.

Frank McCabe, senior chartered architectural technologist at Cassidy + Ashton, says: “The scheme’s prominent location called for a building with a high standard of finish within the agreed budgetary constraints. We also ensured that the new facility offers a practical layout and robust specification to meet the needs of the end user.

“We were able to leverage our experience of previous pre-school schemes, which includes The Rainbow Nursery at Preston East Children’s Centre, and apply our value-driven approach to buildability to the project, working closely with the client and Lawrence Taylor Construction to design a scheme that addresses the planning requirements of the location and the practical needs of the nursery provider.”

Philippa Perks adds: “We are delighted with the designs for the new building, which has been made possible thanks to the support of parents, staff and the project team. Cassidy + Ashton has given us outstanding support and designed a multi-functional, contemporary learning environment that occupies a prime location on the campus. The company was proactive in meeting the requirements of the planners and the university, going the extra mile at every stage of the design and planning process.”

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