A stimulating learning environment for students in Pudasjärvi

The City of Pudasjärvi wanted a modern and stimulating school environment. The result is a school campus built from timber using the PPP model.

The City of Pudasjärvi in Northern Finland decided to build a school campus that combines modern design with the local identity while also supporting new ways of learning.

The school will accommodate 800 students, comprising a primary and secondary school, high school, adult education centre and school gym. The four buildings have a total floor area of 9,700 square metres.

Lemminkäinen is responsible for planning and implementing the construction of the school campus. We are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the campus, as well as user services and basic renovation investments for a period of 25 years. The pine timber is supplied by Kontiotuote, a local manufacturer, and the timber is sourced from within an 80-kilometre radius of the construction site.

Lifelong learning

Lemminkäinen wants to be part of a process that is aimed at learning. "The goal is to create a safe environment that supports learning. Pedagogy is the first priority. Walls and buildings are merely instruments," says Vice President Esa Kemppainen, who is responsible for PPP projects at Lemminkäinen.

According to Kemppainen, it is essential that the school of the future supports a sense of community in all of the environments it provides, including outdoor areas and dining facilities, and that all of the school premises also serve as learning environments.

"The premises are flexible and modifiable multi-purpose spaces that make effective use of every square metre. The buildings are not only schools, but centres for lifelong learning."

While Lemminkäinen already has experience of PPP projects and modern school construction in locations such as Oulu and Kuopio, the Pudasjärvi school campus is Lemminkäinen's first major timber construction project. The project has also attracted international attention.

"This project has attracted interest all the way in Australia and China," Kemppainen says.

A modern solution

The customer, the City of Pudasjärvi, wanted to invest in a healthy and modern versatile learning environment. There were indoor air quality problems with the city's older school buildings. The city had previous positive experiences with timber buildings. The PPP model selected as the method of implementation for the school project makes the maintenance of the building care-free for the city.

Eero Talala, acting Technical Director at the City of Pudasjärvi, emphasises the importance of finding a good partner for the project. "We are implementing a project that is the first of its kind: a timber school campus using the PPP model. Lemminkäinen, in co-operation with Kontiotuote, was able to offer the solution we were looking for."

Talala says the timber structure was selected due to its breathability and the pleasant atmosphere characteristic of timber buildings. For a city known for its diverse nature like Pudasjärvi, the use of timber is also a question of public image.

"However, the most important thing for us is that students and teachers will have access to a healthy, stimulating and modern work environment."