Students Benefit From Revitalised Learning Spaces

Case Study

Gisborne Central School

Account Manager

Phil Elms

Interior Designer

School Support Ltd


Gisborne Floorstore


Mindy Wigglesworth

“It’s easy for putting staples in, easy to flick them out …it just makes our life so much easier, it makes a hard job easy.”

Nicole Heuser - Teacher , Gisborne Central School

Project Background & Purpose

Three local Gisborne Schools have recently undergone a much needed retrofit of their older and relocatable, kitset classrooms as part of the Ministry of Education’s Modern Learning Environment programme. This project was initiated when it was identified that these types of buildings had potential structural failings and an upgrade of the structural integrity would present several benefits and extend the building life a further 20 years. A requirement of this project was that the building envelope is left uninterrupted while thermal and acoustic properties be brought up to an acceptable standard. Property services group School Support Limited took on this challenge and were very pleased with the finished results.

Solution - Product & Installation

With more than 600 of these traditional prefabricated classrooms in the Hawkes Bay / Poverty Bay region; Gisborne Central School, Tiniroto Primary School and Ohuka Primary School were lucky to receive the first round of upgrades.

Developing the existing classrooms to extend their building life was considered highly cost effective compared to a new build classroom. As the buildings had no external building paper or insulation, encapsulating or insulating walls internally was not an option, prompting School Support Ltd to seek out an alternative solution.

Aware of the high performing acoustic properties of 50mm Quietspace® Panel, Project Manager Phil Elms was pleased to learn that 50mm Quietspace® Panel also achieves an R-value rating of R1.48. Whilst enjoying the adherent acoustic benefits of the Noise Reduction Coeffient (NRC) of 1.00, the thermal properties of Quietspace® Panel have helped lift the total performance of the building envelope. Custom cut and slotted into aluminium joists; the Quietspace® Panels laminated with Atlantis coloured Vertiface® provided a great cost effective solution for building retrofits that require sound control and thermal performance.

Other products also used in the project included Autex’s Composition® acoustic fabric, Dado wall carpet and GreenStuf® polyester insulation. Koala coloured Composition® was used to transform walls between classrooms into acoustic notice boards, increasing overall acoustic performance and reducing noise bleed. Made from 100% polyester fibre; Composition® won’t stain, rot or break down making it a safe, non-toxic, long-lasting and sustainable acoustic wall treatment ideal for primary schools, day care centres, commercial offices, libraries and the hospitality industry.

Basalt coloured Dado carpet was installed in corridors as an extra durable, stain and fire resistant wall covering for high traffic areas. Dado has been tested to ISO 9705:1993 standards, and is one of New Zealand’s only wall carpets to gain a Group 1-S Fire Rating, proving Dado to be a safer and longer lasting solution. The schools can enjoy the benefits of a cost effective wall lining that is resistant to colour fading, won’t rip or fray, and is non-toxic and non-allergenic.

To complement the thermal performance of the 50mm Quietspace® Panel, the R3.6 rated GreenStuf® Roll Form insulation was installed into the ceiling space. Not only was GreenStuf® Roll Form easy to install because it was pre-cut to joist widths, it also requires no safety gear because of the non-toxic nature of polyester insulation. This was also a deciding factor in installing GreenStuf® as its non-toxic, non-irritant attributes makes it a safe choice for young children who could be exposed to airborne particles. This is why GreenStuf® is the only insulation accepted into Asthma New Zealand’s Breath Easy programme as a product considered safer for New Zealanders living with asthma.

Benefits & Feedback

Teachers had nothing but positive feedback on their freshly renovated teaching environments and believe that all schools would benefit from the upgrade.  Prior to installation, several teachers commented on how cold the classrooms were – especially in the mornings – and how easily students were distracted by both internal and external sources of noise. Now, classrooms are warm and cosy and there is no longer a need to turn on heat pumps which will be very cost effective in the long term. Noise had been recognised as an issue and students were easily distracted from their work or lessons at hand, resulting in teachers having to raise their voices.  Post installation, teachers have noticed that students were much more focused and external noise sources were no longer a distraction. Teachers also loved the finished look of the classrooms, in particular the colours used and the overall calming effects the retrofitted rooms evoked.

Future Projects

Due to the complete success of the trial upgrade, future projects are in the pipeline with the next stage set to kick off in October 2015.

All students deserve to learn in a warm, calm and nurturing environment and Autex are very much looking forward to working with School Support Ltd on future retrofit classroom projects.