Contractor Henry Brothers has handed over a new £4.4m nursery and forest school at Staffordshire University.

The Woodlands Day Nursery and Forest School is the university’s first carbon neutral building on campus. It is also the first zero carbon building delivered by Henry Brothers Midlands.

One hundred new full-day care places for children aged from 0 to five have been created, with the capacity to provide additional childcare and education for children from five to 12 years outside of term time.

MD of Henry Brothers Midlands Ian Taylor said: “We are delighted to have handed over this stunning building to Staffordshire University. This was our first contract with Staffordshire University and the first carbon neutral project for both the university and for Henry Brothers Midlands.

“With exceptional teamwork from Henry Brothers and the estates department at the university, working together, we have overcome the challenges of the pandemic to deliver a superb modern nursery and forest school on campus. It looks absolutely fantastic and will be a first-class asset to Staffordshire University and its staff, students, and their families, as well as the local community.”

Set adjacent to a woodland but close to the city centre on the University’s Leek Road site in Stoke-on-Trent, the building features four inspirational learning spaces enhanced with digital technology and a forest school provision.

The single-storey building is timber frame with timber cladding and features an external timber canopy covered walkway for social interaction. It is highly energy efficient, air-tight and is targeting net-zero whole life carbon.

Other sustainable features of the building include rehau earth tubes and air source heat pumps which use passive cooling/heating rather than mechanical ventilation; along with roof mounted solar photovoltaic panels to offset carbon emissions. 

Sally McGill, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Staffordshire University said: “The Staffordshire University Woodlands Nursery and Forest School represents an important milestone in our green campus transformation plans.

“We are committed to building a sustainable University and reducing our environmental impact. Targeting zero carbon on completion, our new nursery and forest school will be our greenest facility on campus and builds upon other campus initiatives such as Electric Vehicle Charging points.

“We very much look forward to opening our fabulous Woodlands Nursery and welcoming in the children, families and Early Year Practitioners and teachers who will make use of these modern facilities and help grow our new Forest School provision.”

The project team consisted of Mace as project and cost managers, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as lead designer and architect, Max Fordham as building services engineers, Civic Engineers as structural engineers and transport consultants, and Re-form Landscape as landscape designers.

The Henry Brothers’ design team included CPMG Architects, structural and civil engineer Hexa and Couch, Perry, Wilkes for M&E services.

The project is a significant scheme in Henry Brothers’ carbon reduction journey. The company is committed to cutting its carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2030, and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Henry Brothers Midlands, based at Priory Court, Derby Road, Beeston, is part of The Henry Group, which comprises a number of manufacturing and construction sector companies, ranging from external construction through to interiors fit-out. In partnership with clients, it has a proven track record in education, defence, accommodation, commercial, industrial, transport and healthcare sectors.

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