Case Study: Southam Pathfinder College

BAM Construction, ISEC Interior Systems Ltd
Southam, Warwickshire

Construction is underway on a new building at Warwickshire Southam College campus. The new build will replace the current school building and has been suitably named ‘Pathfinder’ because it intends to set the bar for how future schools are built. The project aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions and low energy use, as well as incorporating passive design, biophilic design, climate resilience and health and wellbeing elements.

The new facilities will include science labs, a hall, drama facilities, a 3D art room, music rooms, a sixth form hub and a Special Educational Needs base.


The project aspires to establish new benchmarks in the way schools are designed and constructed, in construction and future operation. Because of this, main contractors and lead architects for the project, BAM Construction, conducted extensive energy and climate modelling and created comprehensive interior design plans to ensure the building would be net zero in operation for the duration of its lifecycle.

It was therefore crucial for every interior aspect to work towards the common goal of meeting stringent sustainability specifications, as well as the technical, acoustic and aesthetic requirements that evolve from creating a safe, inspiring and productive learning environment.


BAM Construction approached Zentia, the UK’s market leader in complete ceiling solutions, to develop a bespoke ceiling solution that would meet all technical, sustainability, acoustic and aesthetic requirements.

The project required a certain amount of open area ceilings, for which Zentia’s DecoMesh range was a perfect solution. Its DecoMesh ceiling tiles are made in galvanised steel, powder coated and painted to prevent rust, to allow for enhanced airflow whilst maintaining a stripped-back and industrial aesthetic. A total of 1000m2 of White DecoMesh was used in the new build at Southam College.

In addition to Zentia’s DecoMesh range, BAM Construction also specified 100m2 of Neeva black, 275m2 of Biobloc Acoustic, 250m2 of Oplia dB and 5000m2 of Serene hA. The Neeva tiles provide Class A rated sound absorption for a conducive learning environment, whilst the Biobloc Acoustic range offers similar acoustic qualities but with a specialised biocide coating that actively inhibits the growth of bacteria.

The Oplia dB range also used in the new build offers enhanced sound attenuation performance, improving the privacy between adjacent spaces, crucial for making the most out of large educational spaces. The Serene hA tiles used in the project offer an attractive white ceiling tile, with a smooth, laminated finish and the same exceptional sound absorption qualities.

The ceiling installation began in August 2023 by specialist ceiling contractors, ISEC Interior Systems Ltd. The sustainability credentials of the project are even further enhanced by ISEC Interior System Ltd’s membership in Zentia’s Pinnacle Partner Scheme. As a Pinnacle Partner, ISEC Interior System Ltd will gain exclusive access to Zentia’s off-cut recycling scheme, ensuring no product goes to waste.

Kabir Rasool, Project Manager at BAM Construct UK, commented on the project: “We were impressed that Zentia was able to provide us a bespoke, wide range of ceiling tiles that each worked in different ways to create the exciting, invigorating and productive space we envisioned for students. The competitive cost and quick delivery of the products were also advantageous.”

As the construction progresses and the new Southam Pathfinder College building takes shape, it exemplifies the potential for educational facilities to lead the way in environmentally conscious and forward-thinking design. Zentia’s unique solution, featuring a range of innovative ceiling tiles, was able to address the diverse technical, acoustic, and aesthetic requirements of the project, and help provide a learning environment that fully reflects the college’s high aspirations.

For healthcare environments

The Biobloc Family

Suspended ceiling tiles in the Biobloc Family are designed specifically for healthcare environments, with a special coating that actively inhibits the growth of micro-organisms.