Stowe is an independent school housed in a former ducal palace and set within 750 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland in Buckinghamshire. The school’s founders saved the magnificent 18th century buildings - the former seat of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos - from demolition in 1922. Since opening the following year, Stowe School has expanded, through restoration of the old and construction of new buildings, including art and music schools, a sports hall and indoor swimming pool. Today the site’s neo-classical and contemporary facilities are used by some 800 students - boys and girls, boarders and day pupils.
Stowe has a variety of floor types, with safety flooring and short-pile carpeting making up much of the floor space within the school that requires daily cleaning. Keeping these floors clean and safe in such a busy environment is a challenge.
“Our pupils play numerous field sports, so muddy footwear makes for an awful amount of dirty carpets in need of constant cleaning,” said Helen Bagby, head of support services at the school. “In such historic buildings with quirky staircases and corded carpets there are also access issues and time constraints.”
The previous cleaning regime relied mainly on hand mopping for hard floors and extraction machines. When the support services team reviewed its floor cleaning arrangements and examined the many equipment options available, it decided to order four Multiwash 240 scrubber dryers. The school has since taken delivery of four more units - which have a 24cm cleaning width - taking the fleet to eight.
The new machines are compact and highly manoeuvrable,and they are versatile: “They can clean hard floors and carpets in virtually one operation,” said Helen Bagby. Multiwash can mop, scrub and dry floors in one pass. Hard floors are left practically dry and safe to walk on, while the low-moisture process means even carpets can be walked on in minutes.
Helen Bagby concluded: “[The cleaning team] thinks they are great machines. Cleaning is so much easier than before. We would have to wait for when the students weren’t here to clean carpets. Now we can do them anytime we need to within our normal shift times.”