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Metsola school

The City of Helsinki chose a school with a lease model

Hoivatilat implemented a school for the City of Helsinki, the Metsola elementary school, in Itä-Pakila. It was acquired according to Hoivatilat’s facilities-as-a-service lease model: the lease agreement is valid for 20 years, and the maintenance and heating of the building are also included in the agreement. The new school opened in January 2023.

Metsola school

The school is functional and beautiful, and its atmosphere is really nice. It has been amazing to get into these premises and get all our pupils under one roof! This is what the headmaster of Metsola school, Pia Rauha, said after the first weeks.

According to Pia Rauha, the acquisition of premises from Hoivatilat using a lease model brought a big change to her role – and her concerns – as headmaster: “The facility services have been excellent; I have already noticed that. You can contact your own maintenance person directly, and requests made through the maintenance system are responded to quickly. The whole package has been thought out for us, and the problems typical for school buildings will not arise.”

In the tendering process, the City of Helsinki had strict requirements regarding energy-efficiency and the carbon footprint. These have been solved, for example, with geothermal and solar energy systems. This will achieve the energy-efficiency class A and the very low E-rating required by the customer.

Pia Rauha is proud of the school’s energy solutions. She is looking forward to getting to know them properly and bringing an important topic into the everyday lives of the pupils. This is done in an innovative way: the school’s digital information boards display the building’s energy data, among other materials. Information that supports teaching opens up the way energy is consumed and how it is obtained – from the structures of the school’s own building. Children have been taken account of in the visual design and presentation of the material, with the help of a game designer.

A package designed and priced reasonably

The previous Metsola school building, completed in 1991, suffered such severe water damage to the roof that the building was decommissioned, and repairs proved unprofitable. Teaching activities were transferred to temporary premises, including office buildings. In the area, there was also a building emptied due to indoor air problems, the Solakallio special school. The new school was built in its place.

The entire operations of Metsola elementary school were transferred to the new school, which means that the pupils of the adjacent Itä-Pakila site, a total of about 360 pupils, were also brought under the same roof.

The tendering was conducted as a two-stage negotiation procedure. The evaluation criteria were the functional characteristics of the school building, its architecture and contribution to the cityscape, its technical characteristics and life cycle durability, and its lease price.

The customer, i.e., the Tilapalvelut services of the City of Helsinki, was represented in the project by Project Manager Markku Hakonen from the very moment it began.

– The goal was high-quality facilities for teaching and the largest possible solution for this site. The project’s schedule was tight, even unrealistic, especially as the world’s situation is also affecting the construction industry. In spite of this, we were able to implement great facilities according to plan, Hakonen sums up.

Hakonen describes the project as groundbreaking – they had never done anything like this before, so they learned a lot along the way. In the tendering process, one of the advantages of Hoivatilat was its experience and expertise in nursing and school sites, which proved valuable in practice. According to Hakonen, without it, the project would not have been successful.

Panu Pigg, Project Manager at Hoivatilat, says that the City of Helsinki had prepared the tendering process well.  It progressed smoothly, even though the schedule was tight. Intermediate negotiations always gave good guidelines for the next phase. There was no need to change the plan either, so the project was quickly launched.

– Our design and that of architectural firm Avario were good-looking, and reasonably planned and priced. We were immediately on the right track and we paid close attention to the customer’s requirements in terms of energy-efficiency and the carbon footprint, for example, Pigg recalls.

The school building has a lot of wood, which is an elegant, lively and ecologically sustainable choice. The column-beam frame, on the other hand, increases the adaptability of the building as space needs may change.

The lease model as a method of procurement is becoming more common in the public sector. Pigg explains the reasons for this: the lease model is an investment-free, easy and flexible way for the customer to access high-quality premises. According to him, this project also shows that Hoivatilat has the ability and resources to meet the needs of even larger cities.