In December 2018, The Happold Foundation funded three engineers from BuroHappold Engineering to undertake a five-day project at the Nalango Secondary School in Uganda. Rainier Valcarcel, James Forsey and Ben Tapley were able to use their engineering skills alongside their previous experience working on charity projects in Africa to provide invaluable support to the project team.
Nalango Secondary School was founded in 1997 with classes held under mango trees. In recent years the school has received funding from charities and the Ugandan Government to enable it to develop and grow. The current expansion, run by the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund and One Mile Closer, will have an A Level centre that will serve the local area and provide much needed further education for the young people in the community. To date, the work includes 12 classrooms, a science laboratory, 32 latrines, staff rooms, water tanks and science equipment.
The SOS team from BuroHappold joined the team to carry out survey work on the existing school, complete a site investigation and to gather initial feedback on the concept design. The engineers undertook site investigation work, setting out the footprint of the building, identifying challenges and carryout out ground investigations. The site plan was then updated to reflect the findings of the investigations.
During their time at the school the engineers interviewed local contractors to review their capabilities and gain an understanding of project costs, use of materials and timescales. Detailed interviews with three local companies were carried out, providing the project team with the information they needed to select the right contractor for their needs in the future.
The team also worked closely with the teaching staff at Nalango School, enabling both teachers and students to play an active role in the design of the new A Level building.
Rainier Valcarcel commented, “The new Nalango A-Level building will be a much needed platform to help the school bridge the gap to higher education. Through the Happold Foundation’s small grants fund, the team has been able to attend the initial site visit to collect design information, and start the social engagement stage with the local community. We are excited to work towards achieving our goal of building the A-Level centre by early next year, and would like to thank the Happold Foundation for their continued support.”
Rainier, James and Ben’s contribution to the project will help to realise the construction of the school, as well as provide the community with its first library. The project also offers local workers with the opportunity to learn new building techniques, while providing a new template for two-story buildings for the charities to use in future projects.
To find out more about the Nalango School project, visit the Henry van Straubenzee websiteand One Mile Closer website. The team have also produced a promotional video outlining the proposed new A Level building.