Cherry Garden school is an OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ certified school for children with Special Education Needs located in Peckham, in the London Borough of Southwark. Originally based in Bermondsey, Cherry Garden school moved to a brand new £13m facility on Bellenden Road in January 2019.

The new school building, which was designed for pupils with a statement for Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is now positioned on a larger site. It is also more centrally located in the borough, to allow for an increase in capacity to 75 places plus a 10 place nursery and 8 place satellite class.

The new state-of-the-art facilities feature a trampoline room, hydro pool, large library, soft play, sensory room in addition to well-equipped playground spaces. The new build fits in with Cherry Garden’s vision of ‘nurturing success’ providing children with the chance to develop their learning across all developmental areas: cognitive, communication, social and physical as well as allowing children to be as independent as possible.

Head teacher Teresa Neary said: “The children are already responding well to their new environment. I was always keen to ensure that the school spaces allowed for the best possible opportunities for great learning to take place and alongside that the teachers had the best opportunities for great teaching.”

As part of the new build, leading uninterruptable power supply (UPS) manufacturer CENTIEL, was appointed by consultant and contractor Lorne Stewart, to install equipment to protect the power to lifts within the building and the emergency fire sprinkler systems.

Sid Mia, senior engineer at CENTIEL explained. “It was a privilege to be part of such a worthwhile project. I spent two weeks on-site installing three 30kVA UPS and designing the stands for the stand-by battery strings to support the lifts for the school which allow disabled pupils to access to the upper floors in addition to the sprinkler systems.

“In the original building design, each UPS was housed in a tiny room adjacent to each lift. The space was just larger than the UPS but it quickly became apparent keeping the batteries cool enough to optimise their productivity and lifespan would be a challenge in the small space available. Therefore, extractor fans had to be installed in each room alongside each UPS.

“I also installed 2 x 60kVA UPS to protect the power for the emergency sprinkler systems in the event of a power cut. I also worked with the on-site electricians, who installed external maintenance bypasses which allow all the UPS to be isolated without a break in power protection for maintenance purposes.

“Once the cabling had been completed and the UPS were successfully commissioned, I completed a day of demonstrations and witness testing with the school’s facilities manager. I showed how each UPS worked and how to operate it, plus a full switching procedure, which is a demonstration of what happens if there is an interruption to power.

“The UPS for each lift resides on ‘Eco mode’ so to be activated, an operator needs to press an override switch for the lift to be used in the event of a power failure and so this was also demonstrated to ensure staff can operate the lift when necessary.

“As well as installation, CENTIEL provides a maintenance contract on all UPS units on site, which includes two preventative maintenance visits per year. I very am very much looking forward to visiting Cherry Garden School again to see how the pupils are benefiting from this innovative new build.”

Article originally featured in Facilities Management Journal December 2019

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