The Beatlie Campus is an additional support needs (ASN) education environment for young people with severe, complex and profound medical needs catering to students from 3 to 18 years old. With an increase in demand for services, West Lothian Council enlisted NORR to design a new school that increased capacity from 36 to 48 students with dedicated accommodation for partner agencies, including a NHS Child Development Centre. The new Beatlie School in West Lothian, Scotland will be a sector leading ASN provision, offering a range of first-rate facilities that meets the needs of every child, including rebound therapy, life skills and drama facilities utilizing assistive technology designed to facilitate greater independence for the diverse range of users the building provides for.
A “Day in the Life” study was undertaken to implement a design vision that firmly put the students’ needs first. The school’s bee mascot was also deemed important and NORR incorporated this feature in the final concept design with “The Hive”, a central assembly space, and the “Wee Hive”, a smaller intimate breakout space. The complex needs of the students within the building informed our key approach to de-institutionalize the design through the erosion of corridors which can present barriers to students with mobility aids. An emphasis was placed on assistive technology including smart wheelchair guidance systems with on-board PCs, shared control systems and automatic pathfinding and door-opening. Visual stimulation elements such as multi-coloured LED lighting in fabric panels, biophilic plant walls and multi-sensory rooms were utilized to bring the spaces alive, improve acoustics and alleviate anxiety.
Smart technology helps track data points such as energy consumption, lighting, HVAC, metering, and humidity to improve the efficiency of the building. Energy data per room, use of space at specific times and occupancy data give tangible results to observe. Adjacent to the school building, there is an adjoining NHS area offering services to the local community. By making this a joint service building, it will not only provide easy access to important services for Beatlie families but also links to the wider community. The school has already nurtured strong links with the existing community and businesses within the area, and the new location will allow these relationships to fully remain and further develop.
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Director, Education, UK
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