Once upon a time in a deprived area of Stoke on Trent, the people running the local school had an ambition for the school to have its very own swimming pool.
Now, thanks to the focus and determination of these people, led by School Principal Rachel Beckett, Sandon is the only primary academy in the city with its own state of the art swimming pool. It is also to the credit of the school that the money to fund the pool was raised entirely by the school. The school now gives its 500 pupils, aged from two to eleven, free weekly swimming classes and lifesaving lessons and has set the target of helping every pupil to become a competent and confident swimmer by the time they finish primary education.
Sandon Primary’s superb pool was opened officially in September 2018 by Olympic Gold Medallist Adam Peaty, reigning world free swimming champion in the 50m and 100m breast stroke.
In addition to Sandon’s own pupils, free swimming classes are also offered to the wider local community including other local schools and, out of school hours, private swimming lessons are also available. As School Principal Rachel Beckett says: “we wanted to create something that would benefit the whole community as well as enhancing the lives and skills of our own pupils. In other ways too, in an area short of success stories, this pool has given the local community something to be proud of.” Turning the spotlight on to the pool itself, it is a 15m by 8m training sized pool with its own changing area and disabled access. This contemporary pool was designed and installed by one of the country’s leading award winning swimming pool builders – Portrait Pools. It is a testimony to Portrait’s skill that they were able to build a pool of this quality on time and within budget.
The pool took one year to build and during this time the principal of the school commented that Portrait Pools kept the school informed at every stage of the build and managed to organise the site and the work so there was no disruption to the school during 12 months building work.
At the heart of every successful pool is a highly effective environmental control unit. Portrait Pools have worked with Heatstar for around 20 years and consider them their preferred supplier of advanced swimming pool climate control systems. The unit chosen for the Sandon School project was the Heatstar XF EC 4000 Super Plus – a high efficiency, heat recovery pool ventilation system. Centred upon a high efficiency “Cross Flow” plate, air to air heat recuperator, the XF utilises fresh air introduction to provide natural dehumidification and utilises the recuperator to maximise heat extraction from the expelled room air. The XF utilises the latest “Blue-EC” ultra-efficient, intelligent digital inverter fan technology and is fully compliant with the latest building control regulations for both residential and nonresidential applications.
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