Building the New School
Unless otherwise stated all our regular reports and
photographs are by Pierre Tanner
Friday 25th November 2016
Powering up and turning it on!
Today's visit was a result of so many people asking what was happening and realising a visit and update were indeed due. So it was arranged. With a mere 30 days until Christmas I prepared myself for what I might find. After a week of terrible weather suitable only for ducks and fish I wondered with trepidation what size ponds I would find, but the weather on this day was fabulous. Crisp blue sky all around and mild.
On arriving it was easy to see a real hive of intense activity and with so many heavy vehicles and diggers moving around parking in a safe out-of-the-way area was recommended.
The hall exterior from the south side
During previous visits I have never seen quite so many people and vehicles milling around. Of course each time I have appeared, the camera shy crews either make a sharp exit or pop off for breakfast. Funny that! Considering they start bright and early in the morning before breakfast and having worked in the trade in my youth, I can't begrudge them some grub.
Some of the features around the school include the as yet unfinished ramp,
lamp posts, light features near the entrance and the large flight of stairs.
With so many people on site, “Something big must be going on” I thought to myself. “But what? During the last visit they were still putting in walls, windows and screeds and that meant quite a lot of bodies. Able working bodies, as opposed to corpses! What were they doing that needed so many more people, vehicles and deliveries?”
Concrete being delivered and containers being removed
Well, as they say, curiosity is the mother of all invention. No it isn't, I know. But when I say we are flying towards being finished I am not inventing it. As everyone now knows, officially our new school will be finished by the 3rd February. Which means we will all soon be enjoying the benefits of the new school. Yes indeed folks. Within a few weeks of Valentine's celebrations, we will be stepping into a brand new school! These are such exciting times as very few children ever get the chance to step through the doors into a new educational establishment and even fewer will realise the amazing opportunity ahead of them.
The front elevation of school.
Having walked around the school, the transformation is actually quite astonishing. And . . . yes, I know I keep saying it but when you realise the decorators and tilers are in and making it all look nice a tidy, when you notice the toilets and sinks are about to be fitted, you realise just how close we are to completion. In effect 12 weeks from the day of the visit.
Sinks and toilets awaiting installation
Whilst the traditional British weather has tried very hard to do its usual thing and hamper progress outside, inside is another story. All the screed on the floors are finished. Radiators are being fitted and all classroom ceilings are in. The suspended ceiling which hides all the functional parts of the building such as cables, fire suppression and pipes is also being prepared and by the time we move in no-one will know what is above it. All the windows are in and most of the doors are attached to the frames.
The staff room (top) featuring vertical radiators and the kitchen (bottom)
with the drying latex floor
A latex floor was being set on the kitchen floor to seal, smooth and level it out and next would come the lino to finish that floor. Soon after will herald the arrival of the new shiny steel kitchen equipment which will give us a kitchen light years ahead of what school has had to cope with for the last few years.
And as for what all the crews and vehicles were doing, well, these were all part of the electricity company that is attaching the new school to the grid. But first they need to put in a small sub station just for school. So diggers and crews are busy putting this in right now and is in part responsible for the organised chaos and traffic lights. Soon a new light will be shone in our new school as the electricity flows and the heating comes on.
Outside the Pre-school and Foundation classroom showing what will be the
outdoor play area
So there you have it . . . now with only 10 weeks to go the school is looking close to being finished. But there is still loads to do. And whilst the children enjoy a well earned break for working so hard, the crews will continue working through all the tasks during the School Holiday to bring it closer to the finish line.
And that's it from me. It's been fun to bring you these regular updates. But as you, the readers, are up-to-date and we are close to moving, there isn't a lot more we can talk about. I just hope you have enjoyed our regular little progress reports.
Below are some more photographs of the new school
The main reception for school
The exterior of some classrooms
One of the clasrooms
A view of the Pre-school room
Pre-school and Foundation from the East
A view down the corridor showing the suspended ceiling support
20th October 2016
She's just too busy being Fabulous!
Wow things are really taking shape.
The streets had gone quiet. No one was talking about the new school, the curtains weren't twitching and the gossip was all about other things; Children, Christmas and mince pies being dominant. So I just had to find out. Was it they were not interested, or was it that they were beginning to hibernate as the cold and darkness gradually forced its way into our homes and into our state of mind? Or was it that they just didn't know because as far as they could all see, nothing was changing?
The exterior of the Hall is almost finished
As I approached I wasn't sure what would be the state of things. But it was clear from the outside lots had changed. But unless you were paying attention you might not necessarily have seen it. One notable change are the railings which have gone up all over the high walls. On the front of the building all the brick work is pretty much finished, whilst glazers are busy installing the stunning double glazed units all around.
A view of the railings at the front of the school
As followers of my journey will have observed, on most visits the crews all seem to disappear into the ether, evaporating into invisibility. But on this occasion there were lots of men around the site all busily scurrying around getting tasks done. This is the stage of the building that must be planned with great precision. Whilst the outside looks to the casual passer-by as though nothing is changing, the inside is a mine of activity as systems and services that will later being hidden, are installed.
The South side (front) continues towards completion - above and below
Walking through the building it was plain to see lots has been achieved since my last visit. Trunking and cabling is almost complete. The data cabling too is substantial and just about finished as well as the fire suppression system. A beautiful sight they are too! At the time of my last visit much of this had just been started. And what a super tidy job they have done of it all as you can see from the photographs.
The various complex pipe network
Data cabling in the cieling space
To the trained eye plenty has actually been done outside. Cladding on the outside of the pre-school and foundation end of the building is complete and the windows and doors have been installed as well as the glass canopy, which enables the younger children to be outside even in poor weather.
The canopy at the Pre-School and Foundation wing of the building
The Pre-School class is taking shape and almost done
Step inside these rooms and you notice the plaster boarding is finished and the acoustic ceilings are also in. And it's the same in many of the class rooms. The ceilings are in and all that awaits is for them to be plastered and painted.
Interiors of some of the classrooms
“Is it any wonder no one was talking?” I asked myself. Clearly no one knew because they just couldn't see. All they could see was the brickwork, the railings and the roof. But notably the layby is also currently being installed. This will be the drop off area right in front of the new building, although I suspect most children, as they live so close, will walk to school and those arriving by car will come in via the more convenient Active Centre which should be free from any congestion.
This visit was different though. The temporary fencing at the back of the school had been removed and having walked through the thick sticky mud we could get onto the field and view the vast open space there for the children to enjoy. From here I could survey the whole school from slightly above. And what a cracking site it is! So impressive, I wish I could rid myself of many years and start again because these students, although they may not realise it, are set for a very bright future. One of their paths could be the clear path towards the Active Centre heading towards the North East and up to the gate. Cross the soon to be installed bridge over old railway cutting and the world is their lobster!
Looking across the playing field towards the East and the Active entrance
I walked back towards school, crossed what will be the playground and on towards the plant room. The heart of the building in effect. This is where the heating, electricity and hot water all come from. It is here you realise how complex some parts of a modern school are. With two very sophisticated boilers and split heating system there is a lot going on and a lot still to be finished. The main fuse board is on the wall; however, yet to be fully connected to the school. Add to this the pumps and the other systems and here you have a hive of automated activity, which most people will simply take for granted and know little about. But without this room those cold, dark, short, winter days would seep their way into the school and it would not be a pleasant place to learn.
Pumps on the left and fuse board on the right bring the plant room completion near
I will leave you with those thoughts as we approach the mince pie munching winter season. As I write this update there are less than 60 days until the winter celebrations and it's not long both before the days lengthen and the new life of spring shows itself once more. Until the next time . . .
The Hall, now fully screeded
Looking towards the plant room across ventilation waiting to be installed
21st September 2016
Seeing through the fog. The excitement is too much!
People were asking for an update. What has been happening and what stage are we at? Does it have this does it have that? And will it have this that and the other? Well one thing for certain is our new school will be a big space for all those little people. But it will be well used by them all and will provide them with a solid foundation for their futures.
A view of the front of the school - after the fog had lifted
It's actually been 5 weeks since the last visit and despite every effort and good will to get there sooner life and other things conspired to prevent a visit, until now. Finally when the weather reports all said the day would be fine a visit was arranged. But oh! Disaster! When looking out the window through bleary eyes first thing in the morning it was fog city! In fact, overall visibility was about 30 metres, but on approaching the village later however and coming over the top of the hill it was worse. Down to 20 metres or so. Well that's no good for taking photos of the outside then!
Fortunately there were enough new things inside to be worthy of talking about.
But before I take you inside let's quickly talk about the stairway to heaven. For some at least. This will be the huge stairway that leads the children up to school while parents run away for work, rest and play! An impressive sight which is currently being crafted by men working the concrete steps into shape. Just look at the photograph to see what I mean.
The Grand Staircase leads to the main entrance
Talking of photographs, why is it every time I arrive to take photos the crews run off and hide? Something I said perhaps? Or are they just scared - “no paparazzi” they shout as they run away? Come on – don't be shy!
But I digress. Now this is exciting . . . and of most importance . . . the roof is done! It's quite vast when you get on top for a look. The flat parts of the roof offered a good and different vantage point from which to get some photos not seen before. You get a real appreciation for the size of the new building when on the roof. And the special features are more obvious up there. For instance all the classrooms have sky lights in the roof to let in that all important day light. The library also has windows around the top perimeter at roof level allowing some extra light in. More on the library later. From here you can also see the path towards Kings Cliffe Active is already in place and only waiting for the tarmac top. This will be a great boon to the village as it will ease congestion at school drop off and pick up times.
One of the roof sections looking north
A different view of one of the classrom blocks showing the finsihed roof
The path leading to KC Active as seen from the roof
Let's come back down to ground level and amble around the outside. The first thing that stands out is the scaffolding has been removed on the east end of the building which is where Willow Tree, KIA and Foundation Stage will be. These walls are to be finished with timber cladding and they have already started positioning this on part of the wall. But best of all is the windows are in! Yes those all-important weather proofing windows have gone in. And they are stunning! I really do mean that. Beautifully polished timber on the inside and aluminium on the outside. If only the children appreciated the finer things in life.
The east side showing pre-school and foundation
Timber cladding is being applied to the pre-school part of the block
This end of the building, effectively the end they started first is progressing very fast and it's here you can begin to see what the rest of the school's classrooms will look like. Although the reception class has a few little extras such as integral toilets, the layout is pretty much the same.
Views of the Foundation classroom
Moving through the corridors it's evident, if you are paying attention and it didn't have to be pointed out, that the substantial insulation and screed has been put down on the floors. There is a significant step in the corridor between screeded and non screeded floors. Just see for yourself in the photo below. "What's that?" I hear someone ask. Well . . . a screed is a layer of material, usually cement, applied to the floor to level it off and make it nice and flat. In this case it sits over a heavily insulated floor.
Looking eastwards along the corridor, note the large step resulting from insulation and screed
Going a little further down the corridor I came to the teacher's playroom, sorry I mean staff room. A space much larger and no doubt will be better equipped than the current one which to all intents and purposes was once an attic room. This room will be able to cater much better for all the adults working in the school and they will all be able to fit into the room at the same time – MARVELLOUS! To the side of it will be a smaller room where teachers can go to a quiet area during their planning, preparation and assessment time out of class.
The staff room
Now step out into the corridor once more and sashay along to the Library, or as they say these days the “Learning Resource Centre”. Now this will be a special place. Whilst full of light by virtue of the high level windows it will also be FULL of books and pretty much only books. There will be no computers in this room and it will be a place for developing children’s reading for pleasure.
A view of the library
And from above
Worth also mentioning are the cable trunking, ventilation and pipes which will be hidden in the ceiling. They have done an incredibly tidy job and their attention to detail is impressive.
Some of the extensive trunking and pipes that will soon be hidden from view
Part of the ventilation system and parts (right) waiting to be fitted
From the photo (above) you can see the complex nature of all the pipes and cables involved - including the large red pipes for the sprinkler system. Recently installed too is the 27,500 litre water tank for the sprinkler system.
The huge 27,500 litre water tank for the sprinkler system
This ensures the necessary pressure and water supply if there were ever a need for such a thing. And contrary to Hollywood, if such an event ever occurred the whole building doesn't get flooded. Only the affected area releases water.
So there you have it. In five quick weeks when we have all been getting on with the ups and downs of life and the weather has been superb, our new school has progressed further. As the nights noticeably draw in and winter ebbs ever closer we can all rest assured progress is constant and the date of completion moves closer.
Windows awaiting installation
Work continues on the exterior
The main hall from the south west corner and from above (right)
The sprinkler system is being installed in this classroom
Annoyingly, by the time I was finished the cantankerous sun popped out from its hiding place and burned off the fog. Oh well . . .
15th August 2016
Faster than a speeding, jumping, hopping swimming, diving, athlete.
Other sports are available!
It was a warm but pleasant day when this visit was made. Not too hot but pleasantly warm. And at last all those water features of weeks gone by had dried up to become large dust bowls. It was dry. But we mustn't grumble because dry is good, for construction at least. It means the guys can get on. And get on they have.
The imposing view as you walk up to school
It's hard to stop saying “a lot has happened in three weeks”. But it has. Three weeks may be a long long time when the children are off school during their summer holiday driving parents bonkers. Fighting and bickering with one another over something as simple as a toy none of them were actually using until one went to pick it up. But the three weeks since the last visit has been a time of great achievement on site. And it was now time to go back and actually discover which new trades are on there.
The south side and main hall
Whilst many have been sitting at home watching people running and jumping or lifting and throwing things and playing with balls of all sizes, others have taken the opportunity to expand their horizons and leave these shores to travel abroad. But the steadfast crews at Kings Cliffe's new school have been on site busily fitting stud walls and laying the outer bricks.
Parents and villagers alike have been asking what's been going on at the school during the holidays and when will it be open? Well where to start?
On approaching the front of the school across a dusty patch of parched ground it is plain to see just how much brickwork has been completed. The large brick facade of the main hall towers over you as you get closer. The main hall's imposing red brick wall is softened by the inclusion of stone coloured blocks complementing the visage of the school.
Stroll around the south side to the east
Resume your meander around to South side (front) of the building and the red brick wall continues along this face stretching about 2/3rds of the way up. Only this time it's interupted frequently by the door and window spaces. The windows are soon to be fitted too and are already on site.
But it's when you get to the East wing or the early years end of the school and look to the West you realise just how much more has been completed. By the time you read this much of the brickwork will have been completed and only the windows and a lick of paint will needed to finish the job.
The early years end of the building
As for the rest of the building exterior all the wooden cladding for the sections under the roof are completed with at least half of the metal alloy roofing in place on top of the wooden support structure. Meaning the building is now a lot more weather resistant.
A view from of the north
Step inside and the transformations continue. Firstly the electricians are on site! Yes, the electricians are already on site putting up all the trunking which will carry all our electrical and communications cables. It's quite incredible when you look back a mere three weeks and realise the building was barely water proof. Believe it or not this is a big step. In essence it shows the building is now weather resistant and being readied for interior fitting out. Electrical trunking, the blood vessels of any building, is one of the most important fits.
The main corridor from east to west which runs between classrooms on the
right and offices on the left
As mentioned the studding is also in, to a large extent. These are the metal strips which are used to hang the plaster board from. Several interior walls are indeed now plaster boarded, ready to soon be plastered. This partitions the building into each and every room. And it is now you really can feel the shapes and sizes of each room and see how fast the building is moving and to where.
The main hall is really taking shape now
The hall's storage and kitchens are visible on the right
Pre-school's room are first to be boarded
Scaffolding being made ready for the next level of bricks
One of the 8 classrooms
20th July 2016
What a difference a few weeks makes!
The last day of term had arrived. Finally after what seemed like weeks and weeks of unstopping rain, the sun was shinning. And it was hot! The talk of school this time was from the children. The previous day they had visited the school and gazed from afar. Behind the safety of the fences. But they could see the changes in front of them. And they were really excited.
Arriving on site the first thing you notice is the children's hoarding artworks on the front perimeter fence. These pictures produced by each of the classes have been lacquered to protect them from the weather and greet visitors on their approach.
The children's artwork along the fence
The works are moving fast. On the day of the visit the east end roof which sits over the Keystage 1 end of the building is finished. Scanning the rest of the roofs shows it to be nearing completion. With another third of the roof timbered out and ready for the cladding that makes two thirds of the roof space with only a third to go.
Walking around the site it was plain as the nose on my face that most of those “special water features” had now gone. At long last the ground had started to dry up after months of unprecedented rain. So much rain in fact records are showing twice the volume as the same period in the previous year. In fact on the day of the kids visit it turned out to be the hottest day of the year and was very uncomfortable for the workers. But they worked on through the heat despite their discomfort.
Finally dry after months of poor weather
Moving round to the South side the inner skins of the walls are being installed whilst the insulation and some of the laying down of the brick work has already started. This will become the face of the building. The main structure visitors, parents and children alike will see first on approaching the building.
The front (south side) of the hall adjacent to the main entrance
A view of the main facade on the south side with the main entrance to the right
Now that some of the interior cladding is in place the building stature is becoming apparent. Indeed more obvious. Whilst it can be very difficult and deceptive to visualise the size of a building, now that the inner skins and walls have started going up it is much easier to see what this amazing building is going to look like. But take a walk through the inside with its stud walls and clear corridors you really do start to get a sense of the scale of the building and the advantages the occupants will have as they grow and learn. Already the children are starting to ask question about the new school. Of late even more so than the parents.
An interior corridor stud wall being installed by one of the team
Stroll around once more to the east side of the building and it really shows the future. This will be the early years end of the building and will house the Foundation and Year 1 class rooms. The exterior of the roof is finished and the cladding skins and insulation are in all round. Step inside and the vast space reveals itself now that the window spaces have been opened up to let both air and light in. From this vantage point it's easy to look through the whole building and get a an idea of what the children will have.
The early years end which will house Foundation and Year 1
Walk through the corridors towards the west and you will come to a very high part of the building. This is the library and is set to be something very special when complete. With the extra height and high level windows this room will be a pleasant environment for the children to sit down and enjoy their reading. And that is all that can be said about it at this stage. Some surprises are in store. Continue walking westwards through the building past the corridors and walling studs being installed and you once again come to the hall. This will be the focus of school events and community get togethers. And will have a much greater capacity for the annual PFA organised extravaganzas, school plays, Pantomimes and much more!
Brickwork had started on the exterior hall walls
The exterior of the ealry years end of the building
An impressive sight standing proudly atop the rise
The final stages of underground drainage going in
The view from the north west corner showing the hall and years 5 & 6
1st July 2016
Water water everywhere!
Walking around the site today I was struck. No, not this time by a brick or anything of that ilk, but by the amount of water lying on site which the workers and crews were having to deal with. You could tell it was Glastonbury and Wimbledon time. Everyone was talking about it though. Gone was the playground chatter of what is being built and back once again was the old story of the British weather and all the trials and tribulations it brings with it. Everyone was talking about it. One minute hot the next cold. No one could work out what was going on or how they were going to dry their washing. Not everyone had a tumble dryer! And besides what would little ol' UK be without talking about the weather. Where else do they have umpteen words for that wet stuff that falls from the sky and slows everything down?
One of the many special temporary water features created by the weather!
It was definitely a case of water water everywhere and you would not want to drink the soupy brown sludge lying every which way. The water was gathering like a crowd waiting. Waiting patiently with antici . . .
. . . pation for something exciting to happen. But this something, rather than becoming a worthwhile and interesting water feature was becoming more like a pond of primordial troublesome goo!
SO much water!
But despite this progress was fantastic!
As I wondered, lonely as a cloud, what had happened lately, which given the weather, was a serious question. Had progress been made? Or had the weather, as it so often does here, hampered everything? Surprisingly progress was very impressive. More roof had been installed over the early years end and walls had started appearing along several lengths of the building.
The “bird cage” had been moved to the next set of classrooms, namely years 2 and 3 and it was surprisingly dark. Not only because of those pesky clouds but the new walls too were now blocking out what little light was around on this day. Talk about dull! In fact it was so dull in the east end it was hard to get an image of what has happened since the last visit.
A view from the north looking into what will be Foundation nearest and pre-school
at the far end of the photo.
Walking into the more open parts with no roof, it was easy to see where all those materials arriving every day were going. Red brick walls had appeared on the north side and on the south side some of the outer walls and stud walls had already gone in. Along with all this of course were the vast quantities of modern insulation that would disappear behind the walls. Hidden from prying eyes but set to do a job for the life of the building. And this isn't some plain new school that is being thrown up.
A view from the south looking into what will become the main hall
This is a true legacy that will outlast us all well into the future. Something the children can be proud of going to and using. They will literally be able to say “been there, got the t-shirt.” And it's clear that everyone working on it has the very best outcome in mind. Just like an Olympic athlete visualises the finish line the crews are visualising the finished product as they go. The care and attention to detail is astonishing. I know the village people are clamouring to know what the end result will be and whilst they can see some of what is going on they are going to be very pleasantly surprised and extremely proud of the legacy they leave behind for future generations.
But for now let's look forward to a sunny July to September. After all the news papers kept telling everyone we would be having a heat wave!
The corridor and break out space between foundation and years 1 & 2 on the left
Looking into years 1 & 2 soon to be roofed
The years 5 & 6 block with walls in the north end
A huge heavy duty concrete slab set to hold the fire supression water for the sprinkler system. About 40,000 litres!
Friday 10th June 2016
Word on the street was that half-term had been a hive of activity. Curtain twitchers who could see, reported the steel was tall and the cranes had gone. But was it true? Had the half-term really been that busy? The time had come to find out. At first glance the site looked different. Not just crews, engineers, brick layers etc., but vehicles. Lots and lots of vehicles. Whilst there, several lorries turned up with materials for the project. Clearly things were moving ahead. And faster than would appear.
The East Wing from the North. This will become the early years section.
It's been a few weeks since the last visit and the transformation was indeed exceptional. The full scale of the new building and some of its rooms were plain and obvious. At the East end of the structure men were starting to fit the all important roof. The timber joists had already been installed and nothing seemed to be stopping them getting on with the job. This will be the early years end (pre-school and Foundation) and it was taking shape. Stacks of timber waited to be called to duty and be lifted on to the roof.
Meanwhile scaffolders were erecting their tubes and rails to make it safe for the roofers. Gone were the handy manual spanners of old and in were the battery powered hammer drills which span up the nuts and bolts of the scaffolding with little effort. Inside the space which will become the classrooms was a large structure known to scaffolders as a “bird cage”. This is essentially a raised platform on which the roofers can work safely whilst putting the roof on. It also protects anyone walking or working underneath from very the uncomfortable experience of dropped tools, nuts and bolts etc.
The "bird cage" as seen from below.
A view of the West side with the hall structure taken from an elevated position.
This visit was different. It wasn't the normal run of the mill Friday afternoon visit. No today the site was busy, really busy, with the hustle and bustle of activity as many different trades went about their daily business. Whilst brick layers, laid some lower courses, others set out laying the steel upper floor over the plant room which later would hold the concrete floor. The beam and block floors have all been laid and are waiting for the membranes and screeds. The crane was back on site lowering the final bracing into the steel frame. It's all very well organised. As one trade finishes up, the next moves in. Still on target the project progresses well. The project is moving at an amazing pace and is set for completion on time. So the curtain twitchers were right. Things have moved on dramatically.
The plant room which will have a concrete roof.
This will become the staff room from the admin office.
Thursday 5th May 2016 “The arrival”
The weather was perfect. Finally after a long wait it was bright and sunny but not too hot yet. The sign at the entrance was clear.
The sign meant what it said!
It meant business. It said 'keep out' but I was on a mission. A mission to see what was going on. People were talking and I needed to see for myself. Something had been happening in the last few days and few had seen it take place. But everyone had heard. What was it you ask? What has been going on? Was there any truth to the stories?
Tonnes of steel arrive on site
An update visit to the site showed so much progress. From the flat site of a week earlier to seeing steel columns sprouting like grey trunked trees all over the site. The transformation was unsettling. As Shoemaker's Elves made little shoe and clothes overnight, similarly the site has quickly transformed over a few days. But this is no Fairy Tale. This is real and stands tall on the landscape as a sign of our children's future and for generations to come. It is beginning to resemble a large building. And what a building! Onlookers will now see the magnificent structure taking root and growing rapidly.
The workmen digging the mysterious trench!
On the West side nearest the car park and site offices, the steels which will form the hall reach skywards to an impressive height. But walk through the already erected steel work, with roughly two thirds already up and you really begin to get an impression of just how big and special the new school is going to be.
The front facade showing the exterior steel columns
Still on schedule the building is really starting to take shape. Moving to the North East corner of the structure and look to the South and you see the shape of the Early Years and Reception rooms.
The roof lines and shapes of the reception and Ealry Years are clear
Continuing through and a team of men are busily assembling the sections of the steel frame like flat packed furniture or mechano. Each part is taken off the lorry, checked and labelled and then stacked accordingly for its later use. Once the lorry load is set aside safely comes the task of assembly.
Piece by piece each part in unloaded
Like a complex jigsaw puzzle each part has it place and each part is lifted into place with the crane to await connection to the other parts using M20 steel bolts. As you can see from the photographs two men working at height in cherry pickers fix each end of the steel pieces together.
Workers fix each part together just like Maccano
Soon after the steel columns are in place another team grout around the base plates. The frame goes up very quickly and then comes the task of building all the walls etc.
So the rumours are true. The building has sprouted and shot out of the ground. The future IS bright.
Progress Visit: 22nd April 2016
It was a dull, cool Friday morning when this visit was made to bring you a progress report on our new school. Not like the last few days of which we had become accustomed, with its warm sunny weather and deep blue skies. No… this day's weather was just plain lacklustre and uninviting. Work had stopped for a while on site for myself and other visitors, apart that is, for a small huddle of men digging a trench. And it was no secret to those observing what that trench was for. Soon it would contain . . .
The workmen digging the mysterious trench!
A brief visit to our new school site revealed progress is on track. The land has been shaped with thousands of tonnes of soil being removed and transported to other locations in the county. The huge retaining walls which hold back the elevated bank are all in and being finished. This is a combination of a very thick concrete wall with reinforcing steel in it, along with 'split' concrete blocks on the outside wall to make it appear similar to stone and pleasing to the eye. Standing at where the base of the main stairway will be, it showed just how imposing and exciting this new school build is. Towering some 3 metres above what will be the drop off area, the stairs take you to the front entrance of the school.
Even this photograph doesn't quite show the size of the stairway
Detail of the "split" concrete block which appears deceptively like stone
Take a look to the right of this large stairway to heaven (for some) is a long and sloping ramp. Much akin to the long sloping walkways in airports, it's designed for push chairs and wheel chairs and anyone else who may not be able to use the stairs.
The first elevation of the ramp on the right of the stairs
A view from the top of both the stairs and inclined walkway showing on of the
hefty retaining walls
From the other end of the walkway you can see how much steel reinforcing is
used in the walls between the blocks and concrete
Walk up the other slope on the left (West) of the building and over the underground water tanks and you come to the area set aside for the tarmac playground. “Water tanks?” I hear you ask. These huge tanks, designed to hold rain water from the site and buried deep beneath what will be the staff car park, drain rain water into the village's water system in a controlled manner. Because this site of 10 acres is above the village it has always presented an issue when it rains heavily. Normally a vast expanse of land would hold the water and it would drain naturally. However build a lovely new school with tarmaced playground and car park and you create a situation where the rain water no longer has ground to soak into. This is easily resolved by these large tanks holding the rain water and slowly letting it run away, so as not to overwhelm the village drainage system.
At the top of the slope, stop to look around and you can see the foundations firmly in the ground. Amounting to one quarter of the new school's budget, all that can be seen are a plethora of large black steel bolts protruding, awaiting the arrival of the new steel structure, which will hopefully start the week beginning 25th April. This will constitute the columns and beams forming the superstructure of the building.
Steel bolts set into the concrete awaiting the arrival of the steel frame
Anyone living nearby or popping up for a quick peek will see significant changes during the next four weeks as that steel transforms the building from its featureless, flat foundations to a mass of skywards looking steel. It's from this point in time the shape and form of the new building will become apparent.
If you were to stand anywhere on the foundations right now it would be very difficult to orientate yourself and work out where you are or what it is. Standing in the middle of the hall to be, it's clear this will be a great step up from our current facility. Walk around the site for a while and you will soon realise how lucky the children are to have this large new school with all the facilities that are to be included.
Oh and if you're left wondering what that trench is for, well it's for drainage pipes!
12th April 2016
Following a rather wet start to Tuesday morning, the school had a great day visiting the new school site. They were introduced to Ivor Goodsite the Jeakins Weir mascot, and were given the opportunity to ask the site officials a whole range of questions, some of which included, ‘how many bricks will be used? ’ and ’how many windows will the new school have?’. It was an exciting day.
One size does not fit all.
Ivor Goodsite talks health and safety to the children.
Ready to go on site.
Must have been funny.
Briefing time . . . pay attention.
By Darcey and Joseph
11th March 2016
On Friday 11th March 2016 we represented our school at a Commencement Ceremony for the new school that is being built in King’s Cliffe. First we walked to our future school with Mrs Bowyer where we met the architect, Trust, NCC,
Lendlease project manager, Mrs Julien (Chair of Governors), Jeakins Weir builders and director. We were given a hard had and high-vis jacket so that we could go onto the site of the new building and be safe. After that we walked up to the top of the building site and watched the large diggers which were building the foundations and clearing the dirt away. Did you know, over a fortnight the builders had to take away 70 lorry loads of dirt every day?
Mrs Bowyer was handed a silver shovel to dig out a small hole in the ground to indicate the commencement of the new school. The ground was really solid and we had to help Mrs Bowyer dig a piece of earth up.
Lots of things were amazing! We now realise how huge the school is going to be, how much land we will have and how lucky we are going to be to have a fantastic new school.
We hope you enjoy the photographs taken at the ceremony.
Our regular updates where we will bring you the latest snippets and insights into our new exciting school!
A CGI view of the front of the new school
10th February 2016
Exciting times are ahead as construction of the new school has started.
A little, but very interesting hiccup occurred when a medieval trench was discovered which offered a little insight into how long people have been living in the King’s Cliffe area. Archaeologists were called in to have a look and once the survey was completed it was removed.
Currently Jeakins Weir are removing 10,000 cubic metres (or 10 million litres) of earth to sculpt the land into shape. That’s between 12,000 and 17,000 tonnes of earth, enough to fill four Olympic sized swimming pools! This is a very short 3 week program of earth removal which has to be transported via lorries to where it will be used for capping in regions.
There have been a few slight issues with lorry axles catching on the earth on site and subsequently dropping this on the roads on their way out of the village. This has now been addressed with four road sweepers cleaning the roads leading to the site daily and a change to the procedure for loading the lorries. Typically the British weather hasn’t helped and the heavy downpours have washed exposed, loose soil down the slopes and into the roads.
Once this short excavation program is completed in another two weeks, construction will commence and you will start seeing the foundations and retaining walls taking shape. From that point onwards it should become a much less messy affair with most vehicles and works being able to use the existing concrete hard standing to work from.
Once the second half of our spring term is under way, it is hoped the children will be able to go up to the site and look at the school being built and observe the machinery from a safe vantage point. Jeakins Weir are very keen to involve the children and all the village residents.
This is a short snippet of news to keep you up-to-date. We hope to be able to bring you regular updates during term times as work continues.
Computer generated image of what our school will look like.