Modernisation drive at two Frisian village schools


The St. Jozef school in the Frisian town of Heeg, Netherlands is a so-called broad school but prefers to call itself a "cohabiting school". Namely, the new building has housed two primary schools since the summer of 2007: the Catholic St. Jozef school and It Wrâldfinster, a Protestant Christian primary school. In total there are 270 students. Jeroen Meijnders is head teacher at St. Jozef School: "Heeg is a community with two thousand inhabitants at most. Previously, all the children used to play together. The school yard therefore acquired a very strong community function, even outside school hours." KOMPAN supplied the steel and plastic play equipment: "idiot proof" and suitable for all ages. "The children in Heeg, who were not previously challenged much at playtime, are absolutely over the moon with it," Mr Meijnders says.

"If we had not done it now," said representatives from both schools, "it wouldn't have happened for the next forty years". If there was going to be a new school building, both schools expressed the wish to occupy one new school building rather than maintaining two separate locations. It was high time, felt the vibrant village, which situated in the extensive lakes area of south west Friesland. The reason for the new building was the relocation of St. Jozef School in connection with traffic safety. Nor was the school, built in 1921, suitable for the demands of modern education. It was evident from research by the borough of Wymbritseradiel that one building could be built financially neutrally, and in 2004 the funds were made available. The mortar on the new building at De Jister is, in a manner of speaking, not yet dry.

Involving everyone

The Playground in Harderwijk had to be a pleasant spot for play and sport, but it also needed to be durable. "It was at that point that KOMPAN became involved in the project. We went on site with representative Erik Kolleman to see FREEGAME and we knew then that was exactly what we wanted". The construction of the playground was a joint operation between KOMPAN and the company that supplied the ground base. But the neighbourhood was also heavily involved in the process. "During the entire process we had contact with the district managers and the residents in Tinnegieter. So everyone contributed to the creation of the Playground". 

Approachable atmosphere

Mr Meijnders says: "At the time we formulated our vision for the new school building, the central principle was that we wanted to operate independently as a school - we are attached to our own groups - but we did, for example, want to celebrate in our communal area. We also wanted to create an approachable atmosphere in the building, especially for parents, and to drive modernisation with good IT facilities and modern teaching methods."

Carte blanche

A new school building deserves a challenging play area. The general wish was for a playground that was also accessible to parents with young children, school children or young people outside school hours. St. Jozef School was more or less given carte blanche for the layout and decoration. A play area committee was formed and an information evening for local residents organised. Together with the schools, several sports associations, village interests and the Heemspark Foundation, a parent who was well known in the subsidy world prepared a subsidy application for SenterNovum, an agency of the ministry of economic affairs that supports organisations in the accomplishment of social goals. The subsidy was allocated because the plan was so widely borne.  

A nautical character

The choice of KOMPAN came down to the high quality and attractive appearance of the steel and plastic play equipment, its non-age-related nature and KOMPAN's design for the Play Plan. With a view to Heeg's role as a major centre for water sport, the proposal involved a water sport environment, including greenery and paths. The nautical character was expressed, for example, in the paving, in which a "water path" flowed over the entire school yard in blue-green stone. There were also decorative "moorings", and the illusion of a dyke was created using a floor in the paving stones.

Exceptionally popular

In addition to the "grasshoppers" mentioned earlier, the plan for the upper school also included a Spinner Bowl, a Supernova and the exceptionally popular Electra. Toddlers got a revolving sandpit table and a water tap to experiment with, as well as a Navigator, a Cruiser and a swing for climbing, sliding, scrambling and swinging. "The children think it's fantastic," according to the head teacher. "It's just a pity the Multi-goals have to be relocated to another location in Heeg. Too many balls were landing in our neighbours' gardens."


Fast facts
Location: Heeg, Netherlands