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Eco Lodge Opening Ceremony

by Haddenham Webteam – 19th July 2013
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Haddenham St Mary's CE School welcomed John Bercow MP and Speaker of the House of Commons, plus an invited group of local guests, to the official opening ceremony of its wonderful new Eco Lodge on Friday 19th July.

Head Teacher Karen Collett explained her "wacky vision" for the outdoor classroom and the desire to enable pupils to learn about environmental and 'green' issues in a unique learning space that had very close, physical proximity to the world outside the classroom.

She went on to thank all those whose efforts and donations had made the Eco Lodge an economic reality – not least of whom was Andy Scholey, whose company 'Building Bespoke' was responsible for constructing the Lodge. By working to extremely tight margins, and negotiating special trade deals with suppliers, Andy and his team had managed to create a wonderful building at considerably below the full commercial cost. This even included the acquisition of fitted kitchen units that were in perfect condition, but surplus to requirements in the home of another of Andy's contacts.

Andy explained some of the 'green' credentials of the Eco Lodge, which include photo-voltaic panels to generate electricity and a solar water heating system on the roof, a heat pump to extract thermal energy from the ground, a rain water harvesting system and very high levels of thermal insulation in the walls and ceilings.

He went on to describe the low maintenance features of the building, achieved through the use of specially selected synthetic materials to provide the outer wall cladding and the decking. These materials will last considerably longer than their natural wood-based equivalents and unlike wood, will need no preservative treatments or staining as the years unfold.

A small team of pupils known as the 'Eco Team' described the building process and demonstrated their theoretical understanding of the how the new Lodge will have a minimal environmental impact. The whole school then entertained guests with a specially composed Eco Lodge Song, to the tune of "YMCA" by the Village People. We expected Andy to don a hard hat , moustache and shades and join in with the actions, but he seemed a little reluctant to do so, for some reason!

The Right Honourable John Bercow MP encouraged pupils to mark the occasion and to value the privilege of seeing this unique outdoor learning centre come to fruition while they were pupils at Haddenham St Mary's.

With the help of two youngsters, he then cut the ribbon and declared the Eco Lodge formally open.

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