Delivering education on a “whole town basis”, the Dumfries Learning Town investment project involved the design, construction, and finance of six new “All Through” learning campuses. The innovative model featured the construction of new buildings in parallel with the redevelopment of existing facilities, and their subsequent “whole town” integration. Phase 1 comprised of nursery, primary and secondary schools on three sites, while Phase 2 consists of the strategic development of three further sites. The £100m development scheme was procured through the Hub South West Development Framework, and was completed in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council. The model is now used as the blueprint for future schools’ development projects in the region, and was initiated for the development of both the North West Campus and North East Campus.
Dumfries Learning Town has led to a “vibrant, modern curriculum” where partnership working has ensured that every child’s “educational experience is of the highest quality”. The improved and extended facilities have revitalised the educational surroundings of the town with imaginative and flexible learning and teaching spaces. The designs were developed with extensive community consultation through workshops that benefitted from the participation of school children from the local community. A “passive design” approach was adopted, using “building physics” methodologies to ensure conformance to stringent benchmarks around fabric design, air tightness, energy, power and water use, and sustainability. Phase 1 included the North West Campus (£35m), where we achieved an area saving of 10% which equated to 900m2 of building footprint.
“We’re determined to improve life chances for young people and The Bridge will enable this. It is neither a school nor a college, so it can be difficult for people to grasp its role. But it will be key to delivering a range of previously unavailable learning options in post-15 education.”