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“A school’s physical premises affect the educational process very much. The results are clear. Both students and teachers are very happy after the expansion. None of us can tell that the school was built using modules,” says Susanne Barklund, assistant principal at Solhemsängens skola (school). Classroom demand has been a dilemma for schools in the Spånga district for several years. In 2012 the problem was solved by expanding the Solhemsängens skola by 1,500 square meters. “We have many students in our school district and we need to accommodate even more students in our classrooms. This means that we must create space for about 100 more students,” says Susanne. Increase from 6 to 10 classrooms Solhemsängens skola previously had three grades. It is a so called F-2 School, preschool to second grade. In order to meet the influx of students to the area the school needs to retain students longer, before they move to the upper grades at Solhemsskolan (school). “It means that we are now an F-3 school with four grades. This coming fall we will become an F-4 school with five grades, and a total of ten classes. The last phase of construction we hope will be implemented this summer,” says Susanne. Expansion of the entire school Expanding a school by four classes is not just about creating space for the additional classrooms. Susanne explains: >> See the 25 seconds long movie about the construction of the school >> “When we go from a smaller to a larger school, many premises need to be altered and added to. Such as janitorial, a real dining room and a large kitchen with cooking capabilities, sports areas, administration, libraries, arts & crafts, music room, etc. We also need to have a larger copying room.” More “self-sufficient” Susanne shows us around the new expanded school. The dining room has become a large staff room. Teachers have separate offices for each team. Rooms for janitorial, administration and library were created and placed more centrally, closer to the entrance. The school nurse now has much better space. “A major change is that students and teachers do not have to change schools to have lessons in music and crafts at Solhemsskolan. We have become more self-sufficient, we have our own premises for the subjects we teach. It saves a lot of time and makes teaching more effective. In the next phase, we will also have our own exercise hall that will allow us to conduct physical education classes here at school,” says Susanne. New kitchen offers better food Perhaps the most obvious change is the new kitchen and large dining room with functional, large cooking and cleaning surfaces along with offices and locker rooms for staff. “The difference is huge. The working environment in the kitchen with all the modern equipment has become excellent. The light and airy dining room is really nice and can accommodate 130 students. These changes improve food quality and increase comfort for everyone. Now we can also have large gatherings here,” says Susanne. Listened to the school wishes Susanne is the site manager for Solhemsängens skola. How much influence has she had regarding fulfilling the building’s ultimate purpose? “I came to the school when all the decisions were already made ??and the expansion was to be carried out. But throughout the entire planning and construction process, Gert Hedström from PCS has been very responsive. PCS embraced our wishes and could, in addition to the building, basically rebuild the entire old school’s interior. In this way, we were able to move all key features near the entrance,” says Susanne and continues: “At the same time, we have divided the school into several educational units. Previously all staff shared one room, now each team has their own staff room. The entire school has been modernized. It influences our work very much.” Adapted for hearing impaired Susanne addresses some specific wishes she had for the school, that were solved with a little flexibility and responsiveness from PCS: “We have a girl with hearing loss and needed a room with sound attenuation. PCS made contact with a specialist to find out exactly which hearing problem the pupil had, in order to dampen sounds that she had problems with. That way, PCS could adapt attenuation to her hearing as soon as modules for the room were installed. We appreciated this very much.” “Another detail was the flow to the dining room. We wanted the students to walk outside so as not to disturb other classrooms. PCS then organized the cloakroom with extra hangers, toilets and sinks where children enter the dining room.” Surprisingly smooth Obviously a school is affected by an extension of two floors with eight new classrooms, dining area and more. But PCS’s module system made everything simple, from the start of construction in April 2012 to the start of school for the fall semester in August the same year. This all occurred without the school missing any school days. “Everything went surprisingly smooth and easy, much thanks to the close collaboration with PCS. They were always accessible. I never failed to make contact with them when I needed to; they were always responsive to my call. In this way, they have been able to solve problems that arose, without fuss. All this made the process very smooth,” says Susanne.