The school swimming pool complex with the 'wow' factor
Co-educational Bethany School, set in the Kent Weald countryside, has swapped its 1930's converted outdoor swimming pond for the new fully-tiled, deck level pool, which will be officially opened by Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington later this summer. Built in a bespoke solid log building, the pool complex boasts spacious changing rooms, showers, toilets, lobby area and office. The pool itself has underwater lighting, spectator seating and starting blocks. Underfloor heating in the changing rooms adds an added touch of luxury and comfort.
“Log is an ideal material for swimming pool buildings as it provides effective natural insulation and friendly acoustics, ideal for young swimmers, and as a ‘warm’ material attracts far less condensation,” said Norwegian Log’s MD Nick Forrester. “Running costs are also lower than a traditional glass and brick pool building, and our enclosures require only minimal routine maintenance for an indefinite lifespan.”
The project was undertaken with Fowler Swimming Pools, a firm Norwegian Log has worked with for over 20 years. Indeed, when senior staff at Bethany School started to research swimming pools, they were encouraged by a fellow bursar to go and visit a school pool complex built by the two companies in Cobham. “We really liked the Norwegian Log style of building when we saw it,” said Simon Douglass, bursar at Bethany School.
Despite extremely challenging ground conditions and harsh winter weather for the initial phase of the build, the project was completed with minimum disruption to the school. “This was the wettest site we have had for a long time. We had to install a new ground drainage system and instead of conventional foundations, had to pile. But once that had been done it was straightforward,” said Fowlers MD Tom Holman.
With the ground works complete, the Norwegian Log building was constructed in just over 20 weeks – far quicker than a standard brick build - by the company’s expert team. Measuring 37m x 16.5m, the building has been sited sympathetically within the grounds as the school is in a conservation area. Careful consideration was given to location and building height. It is linked to an existing school building which now houses the plant room.
The finished building “has received gasps of amazement from the returning teachers, who have not seen it before”, said Simon. “We now have a first class pool.”
Tom added: “The log building and pool definitely have the ‘wow factor’ and will benefit the school and pupils for many years to come.”