A 3.4m expansion to The Butts Primary School in Alton, funded by Hampshire County Council, has been unveiled.

The opening ceremony of the new classroom block was led by Stephen Reid, the county council’s executive member for education and skills, human resources and performance.

Mr Reid said: “I’m delighted to see this project come to fruition as a fine example of Hampshire’s investment in sustainable, energy efficient school buildings.

“Our in-house designers have created a stimulating and motivational learning environment for pupils, and the building represents good value for money for our taxpayers.

“With a rising population of families across Hampshire, it is our priority to offer places at good quality schools for every Hampshire child. This is part of the county council’s programme to provide 17,500 new places at Hampshire schools by 2021 - with a total planned investment of around £140m.

“By consistently planning for the future, as we have demonstrated here at The Butts Primary School, we continue to be well placed to absorb the growth in demand for school places in the coming years.”

Philippa Mitchell, headteacher at The Butts, said: “We are thrilled with the new building. It is attractive, light and airy, as well as being ecologically sound, and will provide a wonderful learning environment for our children.

“We see it as a positive investment in our future, as a growing school, and that of our community as a whole.”

The new block comprises six new classrooms and will increase the capacity of the school to 420 places. The building also includes a group area and staff offices.

This is one of the first of a number of new school extensions with green credentials - moving away from a steel frame in favour of a renewable timber structural system to reduce the carbon footprint and overall energy usage. 

Solar panels on the roof will generate electricity, and the building’s high thermal efficiency and low-energy lighting also help to reduce energy use.

The energy generated by the solar panels is clearly displayed to show pupils how the panels are performing and to demonstrate how renewable energy works.