Barnsley Local Education Authority

Background to specification

The £28 million Darton Advanced Learning Centre being built over 2009-2011 is one of nine new ALCs and one academy under Barnsley LEA’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

The new ALC is north of the existing school and the existing surface water outfall to the south, so any discharge would require routing through the sandstone terrain of the high school grounds.

The scheme required total infiltration to ground of all surface water on the site. Also, the solution must allow rainwater harvesting to meet the ALC demand for reduced water consumption.

Key criteria

The aspiration was to mimic the natural hydrological process. With a deep water table and good infiltration rates recorded in the underlying weathered sandstone, total infiltration was a viable design choice.

Even with previous flooding around Barnsley and a large volume of surface water to accommodate, design engineers Buro Happold concluded Tubosider’s large diameter steel pipe systems provided the ideal solution, as end of pipe soakaways.

Solution and benefits

The main concern with large soakaway structures is base siltation, particularly over a 60-year design specification. Like all Tubosider systems, the soakaway at Darton came ready fitted with access points for quick and easy maintenance.
Man entry allows for a routine inspection regime and provides the designer with piece of mind. Following successful site testing, the finished soakaways have performed perfectly, despite repeated snow, whereas some modular systems have not.

In 2011, when the existing school is demolished and the area landscaped, the new Darton school will become a 1,350 pupil secondary community, with a design concept revolving around four learning pavilions.