Inter-college event gets students designing new eco-classrooms

Students from Chichester College and Crawley College have come together to brainstorm ways of developing an eco-friendly classroom, reports Samantha King.

A cross-college event saw over 50 learners from courses including engineering, design, motor vehicle, aeronautical and science work together in seven teams to design a new, futuristic classroom for Chichester College’s Brinsbury campus.

The teams presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges, including Jane Reeve, projects manager at Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group, Graeme Clements, sustainables product manager at Covers Timber, and Kevin White, estates manager at Chichester College.

The concepts were judged on their practicality, the impact they would have on the surrounding area, and how they used sustainable resources, such as heat and wind energy.

Chichester College hopes to eventually turn the classroom concepts into reality in around three years’ time, if funding for the project can be secured.

“The dream is to actually build an environmental classroom. We’ve got an area at our Brinsbury Campus which needs refreshment. It’s a derelict area. It’s a beautiful campus, and lends itself to the environmental side of it,” explained Andy Chater, head of learning for STEM at Chichester College. “What we would love to see is the classroom actually being built by the students, with local companies and sponsors.”

Following the day of classroom conceptualising, the students’ designs will be built upon and developed by another crop of learners in the next academic year, who will look at the finer details such as costing and planning.

“Each year we move a little bit closer. The main idea is to bring the students’ specialist knowledge together across different curriculum areas and colleges, so they could all work in mixed groups and share great ideas.”