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Wheelchair-Friendly: School Appoints movemanSKG

Thanks to movemanSKG, Cowbridge Comprehensive School in Wales can accommodate less able students, teachers, and visitors. Two Prestige platform lifts, added as part of a £21.5m development project, ensure classrooms and facilities are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Cowbridge Comprehensive has approximately 1,400 students and is one of the best-performing secondary schools in Wales, having achieved 94% A*-C at GCSE level in 2010. It used to be spread across three sites; the lower school in the south-west of Cowbridge town and the middle school/sixth form in the north-east.

The development project, completed in September and funded largely by the Welsh Assembly Government/Vale of Glamorgan Council, amalgamates Cowbridge Comprehensive onto one site. Contractors refurbished four blocks and added a large new building, which features classrooms, science laboratories and a reception.

movemanSKG’s lifts reside in two of the refurbished buildings. Both carry loads of 400kg and accommodate a wheelchair user plus an attendant. The first Prestige, located in the sixth form and IT block, has its own integral shaft and a standard 1100mm x 1500mm platform. It is a two stop unit with doors that resist intense heat for up to one hour, helping to maintain the building’s integrity in a fire.

The second Prestige is in the school’s maths and humanities block. It travels 3.7m between two floors and is custom-built to fit inside a narrow existing stairwell. This reduced installation time, building work and associated expenses. The unit has a platform size of 900mm x 1500mm and glazed doors.

Disabled access is a priority at Cowbridge Comprehensive School and a legal requirement, as Premises Manager Martyn Skinner explains; "Although we do not currently have any wheelchair-bound students or teachers this could change at any time. We also need to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which applies to all places of education in the UK."

"The newly refurbished premises must be accessible to those with physical impairments. We discussed our requirements with the development contractor, which immediately appointed movemanSKG. The installation was swift and seamless despite a complicated build schedule. Both units operate reliably and have an impressive range of safety features, such as a manual lowering facility in case of power failure. We would not hesitate to recommend movemanSKG to others with access needs."

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