New 25m indoor swimming pool at Kent boarding school opened by Olympian

Education - 28/06/16

Bethany School Opening Photo Composite

Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington OBE has officially opened Norwegian Log Buildings and Fowler Swimming Pools’ latest joint project – a stunning 25m, six lane indoor heated pool at Bethany School in Kent.

Britain’s most successful swimmer officially unveiled the new fully-tiled, deck level pool at co-educational Bethany School set in the Kent Weald countryside at Goudhurst. 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.

“The pool at Bethany School looks stunning and Rebecca Adlington was the perfect choice to officially open it, a winning combination,” said Norwegian Log’s MD Nick Forrester. “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. 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.”

Fowler Swimming Pools and Norwegian Log have been working together for over 20 years, and 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. 

“The log building and pool definitely have the ‘wow factor’ and will benefit the school and pupils for many years to come,” said Fowlers MD Tom Holman.

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,” Tom added.

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.

Replacing a 1930s converted outdoor swimming pond, the new pool has transformed Bethany School’s sports curriculum.  Francie Healy, Headmaster at Bethany School, said: “We now have a first class pool and are able to offer a whole programme of swimming events and activities for pupils. Swimming is now part of our sports programme all year round.”

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