Aude: the school of Bize

Since May, the dewatering operation of the schoolyard has been completed: a project whose educational gains, the fight against runoff and tools to deal with heat islands are already obvious.

It’s recess time. And the – new – habits are already well anchored. In the courtyard of the Bize-Minervois primary school, the vast spaces lined with wood shavings are taken by storm. Proof by the image of the success of the waterproofing operation which made Bize-Minervois a laboratory of the desire of Grand Narbonne to support the municipalities applying for these operations. A project costing €125,000 excluding VAT, for which the municipality (€36,000) benefited from the Department’s aid (€11,000), and above all from the water agency (€77,000). As a result, a draining resin coating deposited in July 2021, instead of the asphalt, after substantial disbursements to deposit the sub-layers which allow water to infiltrate; then plantations, with two hackberries, shrubby and climbing plants adapted to the Mediterranean climate, in March 2022, before new games set up during the Easter holidays; pergolas installed in front of the facades complete the system.

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So many steps for an obvious success in the eyes of Céline Semat, director of the school with 5 classes and 119 students: “We go from an asphalt courtyard to a courtyard that the children appropriate, where they have changed the way they play, there is more calm, serenity.” At the back, another courtyard, also waterproofed, hosts other plantations, an insect hotel, and will soon be equipped with a water collector and a composter. (Re)connection to nature and an educational benefit coupled for Mayor Alain Fabre with an ideal solution: “There was a need to renovate this courtyard, with a problem of runoff and flooding, a repetitive and increasingly intense phenomenon.”

In case of rain, it is 9.5 m3 of water per hour that seeps into the yard

Overlooking the rue des Ecoles, the courtyard now plays its role in the strategy of infiltration into the plot. It is on the basis of hydrological models, integrating slope of the ground, roofs and permeability tests that the benefit is calculated: “In case of rain, it is 9.5 m3 of water per hour that seeps into the yard”specifies Aura Penloup, technician of the sustainable development pole of the territory of Greater Narbonne.

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Over the years, hackberries and climbing plants should fight against heat islands, with vegetation that is inseparable from waterproofing: “All the schools that have been de-waterproofed, in progress or planned, will be monitored to quantify the gain on temperature drops”, says the technician. After the primary school in Bize-Minervois (and the kindergarten in Cuxac-d’Aude, which has also been completed), while waiting for the elementary school in Névian, the feasibility study has already been carried out on the elementary schools Jean-Macé in Narbonne, Lucie -Aubrac de Moussan, Ginestas, Cuxac-d’Aude and the Jeanne-Miquel elementary school and the Danielle-Casanova kindergarten in Coursan, with works scheduled for 2023. And “new schools are emerging”, completes Jean-Louis Rio, vice-president of Greater Narbonne, in charge of regional planning, from the primary school in Saint-Marcel-sur-Aude to the Raymond-Courrière kindergarten in Sallèles-d’Aude, via Narbonne elementary students Louis-Pasteur and Mathieu-Peyronne. So many links in a policy that Alain Fabre intends to generalize to the scale of the village: “We have just built a parking lot over 5,000 m2an area on which I have chosen to reserve 1,000 m2 to draining valleys (vegetated ditch on a gentle slope, editor’s note). You have to break with habits.”

Aude: the school of Bize-Minervois, laboratory of waterproofing