Deanestor, one of the UK’s leading contract furniture specialists, completed a £1.5m contract to manufacture bespoke furniture and fit out over 200 rooms for the first new secondary school to be built in Scotland in more than 25 years.
Bertha Park High School in Perth is an entirely new £32.5m school built by Robertson Construction, and delivered by hub East Central Scotland for Perth & Kinross Council. The school has capacity for up to 1,100 pupils to accommodate an expanding local population and was built as part of the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme.
Deanestor supplied and fitted more than 8,000 items of equipment for this project, including teaching aids, sports equipment, raised bleacher seating and lockers as well as soft furnishings. It manufactured around 1,200 items of bespoke fixed and loose furniture across the school, which included 1,200m of shelving, 300m of worktops, 350 cabinets and over 150 purpose-designed seating booths for the learning plazas and other areas. Sensory equipment and furniture were also supplied by Deanestor for up to 35 children with special educational needs.
Deanestor’s team fitted out the entire school in a 22-week programme in areas such as science laboratories, food technology, café and social dining, ICT suite, art rooms, sports changing, design technology, break-out spaces, learning plaza, offices, reception and general classrooms.
Flexible, robust furniture
Bertha Park was designed by architects NORR to encourage collaborative learning and a high level of social integration for all age groups. It is also the only school in the UK to be selected as part of the Microsoft Flagship Schools programme, using advanced technology to improve the children’s learning experience.
Commenting on the project, Andy Cook, Project Manager at Perth & Kinross Council said: “We are more than happy with Deanestor’s performance on this project, from design and installation to the robust quality of the furniture. We adopted a very different approach for the design of this school to reflect the different methods of teaching and the increasing importance of social interaction. Each child is equipped with a tablet and the majority of learning materials are digital, which reduces the need for physical storage. Tables have a flexible rather than a fixed layout. By moving away from traditional styles of teaching and adopting an environment that is similar to higher education, we will be preparing young people for working in the real world.”
Robbie Kerr, Operations Manager at Robertson Construction, commented: “Deanestor’s involvement at the pre-construction stage was invaluable. This gave us the benefit of more accurate cost planning, fewer design changes and most importantly, we were able to deliver exactly what the client wanted. We were also able to look at the M&E package at an earlier stage, locating services around the precise layout of the furniture. The quality of the furniture is superb and everyone who has visited Bertha Park is very impressed with the internal environment. The whole team worked exceptionally well together on this project — the client, Robertson, Norr and Deanestor — to deliver an outstanding school.”
Collaborative learning environment
Brian O’Donnell, Associate at Norr added: “This is a terrific project, providing a range of different spaces to reflect collaborative learning and a more fluid approach to teaching. The furniture is very much part of the building and some items such as the angled seating booths even reflect the shape of the school. Deanestor was an integral part of the project team and worked in partnership with us from the earliest design stages. This initial development work definitely contributed to the overall quality and allowed us to have a lot of bespoke fitted furniture whilst working to a tight budget. This demonstrates excellent value for money. Our relationship with Deanestor was very successful and the end result has definitely exceeded our expectations.”
The furniture throughout Bertha Park was designed to be contemporary with room layouts reflecting the latest thinking in curriculum delivery and in a bright and modern palette of colours that links all internal learning spaces. Features include:
- Bespoke fixed booth seating in the café, breakout areas and flexible learning spaces to facilitate social interaction.
- Curved island benching in the ‘super’ science laboratories to accommodate classes undertaking both practical and written work at the same time.
- Life skills kitchen for special educational needs.
- Curved display shelving for showcasing work in the art and design department.
- Locker units in a range of configurations, some with integral seating or workstations.
- Innovative modular furniture and stylish low and high-level seating for the learning plazas.
- Ergonomic furniture for general classrooms with writable learning surfaces throughout and standardised work stations for teachers with mobile lockable storage units.