Striving for a Positive Learning Environment

The new, wooden-structured, integrated Vehmaa School was completed at the beginning of the autumn semester of 2019. About 200 students from grades 1 to 9 have been able to begin their studies at the school’s new premises. The facilities are designed to accommodate a total of 250 pupils. Here, modern learning and working environments have been created, which is reflected in the facilities equipment and teaching methods. The new school building includes a multi-purpose hall for dining that also functions as a lounge or media room, and for small groups to study and research. The school is complemented by an adjacent sports hall built in 2013.

An important investment for the future

At a cost of almost 7.5 million euros, the school is a major investment in a rural community with a population of just under 2,500. The school was seen as particularly important for the vibrancy and future of the Vehmaa community. The new facility, designed by the Turkubased company Arkkitehtitoimi Leino Oy, was built mainly of wood and aroused great interest in other municipalities. When serious indoor air problems were identified in the old school building, the initial intention was to refurbish and extend the building. However, it was concluded that this project was not viable, so it was decided to demolish the old building and construct a new one. Several considerations were taken into account when planning the new school building, for instance the use of ecological construction methods and materials, as well as a breathable structure to avoid future problems with the indoor climate. The building, which is mostly made of wood, was constructed according to these criteria.

Durable rubber floor coverings

The school is housed on two floors. The previously mentioned multi-purpose room serves as a dining area, a place for group work, a lounge and a media room.

A two-story window wall brings sufficient light into the room. The flooring of the multi-purpose room as well as that of the corridor and lobby areas on the second floor is fitted with the lightly coloured norament 926 grano, which makes the room even brighter. The rubber
material of the nora floor not only contributes to a healthy indoor climate, but boasts excellent acoustic properties that keep the sound level down. The staircase leading to the second floor is covered with norament 926 grano stairtreads with signal stripes. This enhances the visual perception of the staircase contours and the position of the step edge, thus facilitating orientation on the stairs. The slip-resistant surface also provides good traction, making the stairs pleasant and safe to walk on. nora rubber floors are an excellent choice for rooms where floors need to be durable, functional, and easy to maintain.

vehmaa school

vehmaa school

vehmaa school

vehmaa school

vehmaa school

Natural background colours

For classrooms, noraplan stone was selected in four different shades of grey and brown, providing a neutral background for light or colourful furniture. The colour palette of noraplan stone includes 20 different shades. Its reflection-breaking surface structure and the discreet grain make the material come alive. Like other nora rubber floor coverings, noraplan stone is permanently resilient, making it pleasant to walk on. A person’s back and legs are thus subjected to much less strain than when walking on hard surfaces.

In addition to several international environmental certificates, the nora floor coverings also carry the national Finnish M1 certificate. The M1 certification indicates that the material is low in pollutants and suitable for use in a healthy learning and working environment.
Finally, the floorings, like all flooring products sold by Interface – including carpets, LVT, rubber sheets and tiles – are certified carbon neutral through the Carbon Neutral Floors™ programme, at no extra cost to customers. nora’s own rubber plant in Weinheim, southern Germany, is continually working to eliminate or reduce CO₂ emissions and thus further reduce its own carbon footprint. Unavoidable CO₂ emissions are compensated by the acquisition of emission-reduction certificates that are used to finance climate protection projects.

See more about nora flooring for the education sector here.

Project: Vehmaan Yhtenäiskoulu, Vehmaa, Finland
Architect: Arkkitehtitoimi Leino Oy, Turku, Finland
Products: noraplan® stone (1,600 m²), norament® 926 grano (860 m²), norament® 926 grano stairtreads
Installation: 2019
Photos: © nora systems

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