Reference stories

Mansikkala School Centre

The reference story was created for Paroc Owens Corning

The city of Imatra got tired of the indoor air problems in schools and decided to invest in healthy and safe learning environments for children and young people. Therefore, three new learning centres will be built in Imatra by 2021. By the autumn semester of 2020, the largest wooden school in Finland will be completed in Mansikkala, with an area of ​​approximately 11,000 square meters.

The Mansikkala school centre is a unique project in Finland by many measures. – The very fact that this is a nursery school makes it special. This is also the largest investment in the city of Imatra, worth more than 40 million euros and implemented as a life cycle project, says Sami Turunen, the City of Imatra’s Facility and Safety Manager.

The Mansikkala school centre is not built of solid wood, but insulating wool has been used to insulate the wooden frame, and the structure has a vapor barrier. The frame is made of glulam and the wall surfaces are made of wood. The outer coating is made of plank and the inner surfaces are white lacquered glulam.

The rising trend of wood construction

Many municipalities wrestle with mold and indoor air problems within schools. The strategy of the city of Imatra is to build healthy and safe schools so that students are not exposed to indoor air problems in the municipality’s own service network. Many aspects favoured the wooden school. – First of all, wood is a natural and healthy building material that breathes and promotes good indoor air. It does not collect moisture into the structures and it reveals possible moisture damage very quickly. It is also an unfavourable breeding ground for mold. Studies have also shown that wood promotes the general well-being, Turunen explains.

However, why has wooden construction not yet taken full blast of sails in public construction in Finland? – That’s a good question. I think the obstacle to public wooden construction was still a few years ago the higher production costs. Now the costs have been pushed down, so I believe that wooden construction will become more common in the near future, especially in kindergarten and school construction.

The trend is rising also according to the Wood Products Industry Association. About a quarter of the school projects launched in Finland in 2018 were wooden.

A diverse life cycle project

The Mansikkala school centre, completed by the autumn semester 2020, will operate as a multifunctional property, which will facilitate, in addition to basic education, a counselling centre, pre-school education, upper secondary school, labour college, youth services, student welfare and third sector actors.

The school centre has been implemented as a life cycle project. – The service provider YIT Koti Oy is committed to run the school for the first 20 years, according to the long-term plan, so that after 20 years the building will be in 85% current condition.

After the completion of the school, Turunen will act as a user representative in the school centre’s cooperation group. – We will annually update the long-term plan and take care of planned investment adjustments. In this way, the building remains in the condition required by the life cycle model.

Good construction above all

Turunen has been actively involved in the design and construction phase of the Mansikkala project. – Good construction practice is emphasized in this project. The frame phase was built by protecting the construction from moisture entering the structures and the covers were only dismantled once the water roof was installed. A healthy and safe school also requires that all the project phases are conducted with carefully selected materials.

Good construction practice also required a cleanliness rating of P1 in the construction work. – When installing ventilation ducts, the indoor spaces had to be dust-free to prevent dust from accumulating in the iv ductwork.

Healthy and safe stone wool

According to Jukka Peltonen, CEO of KSPT Oy, responsible for insulation installations, Paroc stone wool was the only insulation option at the Mansikkala school centre. – The basic properties of stone wool speak for themselves. Stone wool belongs to fire class A1, which is the highest possible European fire rating for building materials, and PAROC stone wool fibre is Nota Q fibre, which has not been assessed as harmful or classified as an irritant.

Smoothly to the finish

The Mansikkala school centre was a relatively large project for KSPT. – We installed insulation for air conditioning ducts and heat and water pipes. From the point of view of our company, this was a typical building technology project, but it was certainly great to be involved in such a significant project for the city of Imatra, where a healthy and safe school is being built.

KSPT used PAROC BlackCoat to insulate the air ducts. – It has proven to be very effective in all our projects. It is easy and quick to install, the end-result looks good and you can always trust the quality of the stone wool, Peltonen praises.

Peltonen was also pleased with the smooth progress of the project. The cooperation between the various parties involved, worked seamlessly from start to finish.

Text: Commia / Mia Heiskanen

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