Established over 175 years ago, Stranraer Academy today serves close to 1,000 pupils of all abilities from the surrounding area in South West Scotland. The school is able to support children with Severe and Complex Learning Difficulties thanks to the skills of its team and the facilities within the AIRD Centre, a specialist unit that includes teaching areas, a multi-sensory room and also a hydrotherapy pool.
For the pupils and private clients that use the AIRD Centre, the pool with its heated water is vital for supporting physical and mental wellbeing. During the summer break in 2022, however, a fault with the extraction fan housed within the main HVAC system rendered the hydrotherapy pool unusable. A lack of air conditioning meant that air moisture in the room built to critical levels, leading it to condensate on the cold tiles. With water literally running down the walls, the pool area was forced to close.
This left the Stranraer Academy with the need to carry out disruptive repair work involving the stripping of the defective HVAC system, which is sited above the pump room and toilet areas in the roof void. Unless a short-term solution could urgently be found, this disruptive repair work would need to be carried out during term time, forcing returning pupils and private hire clients to source an alternative facility. For the school, this was an unviable position.
Following a recommendation by the school’s FM Company, AMEY, Polygon was engaged to establish the nature of the problem and implement an immediate fix so that use of the pool could resume by the end of the holidays. Working quickly, Polygon was able to conduct a thorough assessment of the hydrotherapy pool facility, reporting its findings the following day. Because the building’s existing HVAC system was out of service, Polygon’s proposed solution was to match the target conditions for the room in terms of Relative Humidity level and temperature but using alternative temporary means.
Polygon calculated the thermal load from the clear window areas of the pool as this would affect room temperature. There was also consideration of the pool water temperature and evaporation rate to arrive at the total amount of air moisture present, even acknowledging the contribution to air moisture and temperature increase from people using the room. Once Polygon had worked out the various calculations, a suitable dehumidifier unit and fans were selected to match the required moisture and temperature loads. The ventilation fans had to be portable to fit in the roof void area above the pool and had to be strong enough to circulate and recycle the treated air through the existing ceiling-mounted duct louvres. All equipment was drawn from Polygon’s large UK fleet, ensuring Stranraer Academy was provided with the latest, energy-efficient technology to suit its specific needs. Furthermore, with children having access to the space, Polygon’s technicians also specified and engineered bespoke protective covers for the dehumidifier unit to eliminate any possible risk of injury and to also ensure compliance with HSE (Health and Safety Executive) schools guidance.
In just a matter of days, the alternative system implemented by Polygon meant the hydrotherapy pool was up and running again in time for the school term. This prevented parents from having to source alternative specialist facilities for their children and ensured no revenues were lost from private hire cancellations. For the school, the short-term solution provided valuable breathing space that can be used to carefully plan and source the more fundamental reparation work on the faulty permanent system. This will allow the work to be completed efficiently, cost effectively and with minimal impact on those who depend on the AIRD Centre’s hydrotherapy pool.
Charles Stirling, Area Director Scotland Temporary Climate Solutions (TCS), Polygon:
"We are very pleased to have been able to support Stranraer Academy in answering this challenge.
At Polygon, we are always focused on engineering tailored climate solutions that are right first time, but it is particularly rewarding to know that our work here has made a difference to a facility that is so important to children and families in the area."
Direct Reaction Team
We are ready to respond on short notice to ensure that real estate and other property restored to its origins in the fastest possible way. We do a quick assessment of the damage to be able to take the right actions.
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