A fairy tale school? No, just a new generation school in Zamienie, Poland
More and more local authorities are realising how important good acoustics in school premises are in promoting the development of very young pupils. There is an increasing desire to introduce new standards in this domain early on when planning and designing schools. The best example of this is the recently opened primary school in the Warsaw suburb of Zamienie. Although scarcely a few months have passed since the school opened, the pupils all agree that it’s a school like in a fairy tale.
The Primary School in Zamienie is a modern, spacious building, accommodating a versatile educational space and technological solutions that promote learning. The building houses a total of 29 classrooms, two multi-use halls, a library, a partitioned gymnasium with supporting washroom and toilet facilities, a weights room and fitness room, as well as a room for therapeutic gymnastic exercises. There are currently 350 pupils on roll, but the school will ultimately take as many as 1,500 children. With such a large number of energetic youngsters, there would be sure to have been a lot of noise, had a solution to this problem not already been addressed at the planning stage.
“From the beginning, our school has been based on fusing the old with the new. Our goal is that the pupils should acquire comprehensive, well-founded knowledge, form an understanding of themselves, and develop their hobbies and interests in conditions best suited to achieve this. We are creating an atmosphere where pupils, teachers, administrative and domestic staff enjoy being here and do not return home tired after a few hours spent at school. We are helped in this by sound-absorbent panels which are installed throughout the school. These reduce the noise and echo within the rooms,” says Michał Doliński, headmaster of the primary school in Zamienie.
“The sound-absorbent materials have been used in the corridors and access halls, cloakrooms, the sports hall, the exercise and weights rooms, the main assembly hall, the dining hall and the teaching rooms and multi-use halls,” says Mikołaj Jarosz from Ecophon.
“In other words, in all the areas where there is a particular need for good acoustics. It’s not a coincidence that precise requirements have been specified for exactly these types of space in Polish acoustic standard PN_B-02151-4:2015-06, which is mandatory for planners and designers,” he adds.
One of the few areas that do not have sound-absorbent materials installed are the capacious staircases, and, because they are separated by doors from corridors and access halls, they constitute an enclosed area where sound reverberates easily. However, as the headmaster emphasises, this has its positive aspects. Even people who only fleetingly visit the school immediately notice the acoustic comfort of the corridors after making their way along a noisy staircase.
“The school in Zamienie is a new generation of school. There aren’t even the usual bells here. They’ve been replaced by music which comes from the loudspeakers installed throughout the building, and in some areas it is so quiet that you can even hear the quiet hum of the loudspeakers when their power supply is on,” says Mikołaj Jarosz.
We decided already at the planning stage that we would use solutions in the new school that would address the problem of noise in a school.
The parents are also pleased with the good acoustics
The pupils' parents are eager to point out how much these solutions contribute to the conditions in which their children learn. They are aware of the results of educational studies that indicate that the quality of the space in which the pupils spend their time has a direct bearing on the level of their school achievement. Solutions like the wall panels installed in some of the spaces arouse curiosity – many people touch them spontaneously in an attempt to understand how they work. However, they notice the greatest acoustic effect in the spacious school assembly hall, where, despite its voluminous proportions, there is no problem understanding a person speaking.
The school in Zamienie is an example of a new level of acoustic performance, which is a feature of schools designed and built in accordance with the new acoustic standard.
“While planning the implementation of a new educational investment in the Municipality of Lesznowola, i.e. the construction of the Primary School in Zamienie, we decided already at the planning stage that we would use solutions in the new school that would address the problem of noise in a school. The acoustic solutions of Ecophon used in the implementation stage of the investment have ensured that the teaching spaces in the Primary School in Zamienie are free of irritating noise, even when the pupils are not at their most quiet. The solutions that have been used also have a bearing on teacher comfort and the outcomes of their work – a factor that cannot easily be overstated. This is very important, as the well-being of the teaching staff directly affects the educational achievements of their pupils,” adds Jacek Bulak, Director of the Schools Operations Centre in Lesznowola, who was responsible for the investment.
“The school in Zamienie is therefore an example of a new level of acoustic performance, which is a feature of schools designed and built in accordance with the new acoustic standard,” adds Mikołaj Jarosz.
“But most school buildings currently in existence fall well short of this standard. This can be changed by installing solutions similar to that in Zamienie in them, by drawing on the government’s Laboratories of the Future programme, for instance.”