Six months ago, I learned about a little school pool in the heart of rural Suffolk in need of some serious updating at Barrow Primary School. I instantly saw massive potential and rang the head mistress Mrs Helen Ashe that very day to introduce myself.
The pool was build 60 years ago by village volunteers and had not really been worked on since! The roof was rotten, the floors and walls were crumbling and there was no working plumbing or electrics. The pool was very much on its last legs and so we proposed a partnership. esa would fund the complete re-development of the pool in return for exclusive use outside of school hours. This would mean the school and community would get a brand new all year round pool and esa would have a new venue to offer private swimming lessons.
On our very first meeting we instantly hit it off with the school and it was clear this was going to be the start of a great relationship. Being a school pool owned by the council there would be a lot of hoops to jump through first and the first 4 months of the project were taken up with legals, planning, numerous meetings and presentations. In October 2015 we finally had the go ahead and work commenced the very next week!
The first thing that we needed to do was strip the whole building back to its bare bones. We knocked down the old changing partitions and removed everything from the building except for the pool structure itself. It was around this time we discovered that there were no working drains so adding in new drainage channels was the next step!
The pool had never had working showers or toilet facilities so new drainage was essential for this. We installed new changing rooms, shower facilities, lighting and a w/c to bring the pool into the 21st Century. We have gone for a clean fresh look throughout and used the highest quality of materials for longevity and energy efficiency. The installation of 52 new double glazed windows and a top of the range air source heat pump which uses just 25% of the electricity of the old system all help to keep the carbon footprint of the building as low as possible.
As we are about to embark on our opening day, the builders are in making the finishing touches in preparation for the first customers! The floor went down on Sunday and the last bits of painting are being done as I write this. To have turned this project around in 6 months has been stressful but really quite remarkable and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved along the way.
I look forward to welcoming all of our customers this week and showing you what we have created.
Welcome to esa – Barrow Primary School, the latest swimming lesson venue for Elite Swimming Academy.
Gallery of works: