We would love summer to return to the Hill. Whilst these images were taken on a dry day this week, most of the time it is raining, which is far from ideal when looking to fit the windows and doors!
New Sports Centre
With the roof complete and the majority of the guttering and edge trims installed, work has now turned to the cedar cladding. It has been great to see the warmth and colour that this brings to the building.
The roof sheets are now on and the glulam cladding for the front pillars has been fitted. Protection has been installed around them, but it is good to see the first parts of the wood and glass aspects of the frontage fitted.
We have been lucky enough to receive another set of airborne photographs from alumnus Melville James, showing the progress on the site. This time not only has he provided wonderful current images, but he has also tried to match the angles up to recreate a modern version of an image taken in the 1930s. The building seems so much bigger from above, whereas at ground level, so much of it is hidden.
The roof sheets have arrived (along with a large crane) and the first sheets were positioned before the rain returned. The wooden cladding should begin next week the glulam for the front columns is expected shortly too. All around the building things are changing fast and much of the detailed finishes work will now begin.
So after a long wait, this week the main roof is due to arrive and start to be lifted into place. Hopefully it should be complete by the end of the month.
As the end of the School year is upon us, we look forward to welcoming current parents, friends of the School and alumni for Speech Day. We hope that they all enjoy seeing the new Sports Centre rising from the ground, as they watch the cricket during the afternoon.
After more torrential rain early in the week, the site has now dried out and the road is ready for tarmacking on Monday. The base for the cedar cladding continues to go up and this week the cladding arrived on site.
As the build reaches Week 40, below are a couple of updated illustrations, depicting the new building. With the holidays fast approaching, it is strange to think that by the time the pupils return for a new school year, only 8 or so weeks will remain.
Apparently it really is June, despite the weather feeling more like March! This week has been a slow and soggy one on site, with a return to Somme like conditions. The contractors have made the most of the time however, continuing indoor works and starting to rebuild the road to Plymouth House. This afternoon a glimmer of hope appeared that conditions might be changing, so fingers crossed it holds.
This week has seen us complete Week 38 of 58 of the build programme. The panels continue to go up and work has now begun on laying the damp proof course, floor insulation and screed.
As half term draws to a close, the panelling to the rear aspect of the Sports Centre continue a pace, along with the stone work.
As the half term draws to a close, the panels have started to be fitted to Sports Hall. After two weeks of installing the brackets, the panels are now being lifted into place. Whilst looking remarkably light when stacked in a pile, they are actually surprisingly heavy!
Last week we were luckily enough that alumnus, Melville James, passed overhead again and sent these pictures back to Nanci. We are delighted to be able to store these bird's-eye images as part of the archive of the project, detailing and recording the 58-week progress of the build.
It has been a while since I posted an image of what the building will look like when finished, so I thought this might help, when looking at the images of progress below. Preparations for the cladding of the Sports Hall continue, but with almost no tolerance allowed, every bracket and mount needs to be carefully aligned.
A football tournament this week (hosted for Windrush Valley School) gave a prefect opportunity to view the new Sports Centre from the Astro Turf and to explain to lots of visitors quite what we are building. It certainly created quite a buzz and we now look forward to many of our alumni seeing it for the first time at Chill on the Hill, on the 1st of June (hope you can join us!).
With the building site shut for the Easter weekend, it has been a slower than normal week for the project, but the build is still running to time. The view below was taken from the top of the arched roof and shows what a tremendous view the roofers get of the School site every day.
With beautiful spring weather upon us, it seems appropriate that we should be seeing the first shrubs and trees being planted on site. The uprights for the embankment fence have also been erected. Once all the plants have been inserted through the matting, the area will covered with top soil.
The first week of the holidays has seen the stone work on site continue to progress. The internal block work is being covered up and the final skin of the building is visible. Internally the steel frame is disappearing too as the dividing walls are constructed.
As the Easter break begins, we have finally reached the mid-point of the Sports Centre project (week 29 of 58). To mark the occasion, we have been luckily enough to receive a third set of airborne photographs of the site (taken last week), from alumnus Melville James.
With glorious weather this week, it seems like an incongruous time to be laying insulation, but that is exactly what has been happening. The lower roof deck insulation and membrane are nearly complete and works with then move to the main Sports Hall.
It has been a slow but steady week on site, with progress somewhat hindered by high winds and rain. We have been lucky to date, so I suppose it was fair to expect some bad weather over the winter, it is just unfortunate that it is when we are trying to put the roof on!
However, in the early part of the week, the Main Sports Hall roof did get underway, before the winds prevented it continuing. The curved shape above the flat roof has begun to take shape.
This week thanks must go again to alumni Melville James and David Price for the wonderful aerial images. The pictures were taken last week and the progress made is even more apparent from above. Last week's lovely weather has unfortunately disappeared, so we were lucky they caught this window of opportunity.
The crane returned this week to lift the base structure for the roof into place. After the safety netting and scaffolding were installed, the stacks of roofing were lifted up and the first pieces were secured to the accommodation building on Friday. The bricklayers and ground workers have also returned and the path around the building now looks 'path-like' - if that is not stating the obvious!
The work this week has been much less visible, but it has been busy nonetheless. Works included pouring the concrete that forms the Sports Hall floor (photos to follow as keen not to add footprints to it!), an electrical outage to allow alteration to the mains panel and the installation of the scaffolding required to allow the next phase of works to begin.
As the half term draws to a close, the build continues a pace. The concrete slabs forming the second floor are now in place and the smaller of the two internal staircases has been installed.
The weather relented for part of this week and snow was replaced with sunshine just in time for the 130 tonne crane to arrive. The brick layers had spent Open Day playing catch up, so that the block work base was in place in time for the arrival of the crane. Stretching 60m above the site, it was a welcome sign of progress after the previous week.
A short entry this week, as Week 20 has been a bit of a quiet week on the building site. Luckily we were ahead of schedule going into the week, as cold temperatures and snow covered ground has halted progress somewhat. Works have continued, but as the brick work cannot be laid when it is covered in snow, then a catch up plan is in place for the start of next week. The School site however has looked beautiful, and the pupils have been out enjoying the snow.
Winter arrived this week with the first dusting of snow and far chillier temperatures on the Hill. Unfortunately these are not ideal conditions for laying the block work, however the foul drainage works continued regardless and so time was not lost.
As Week 18 draws to a close, visible progress continues to be made. The project is running to time and next week moves us on again to a new phase.
The steel frame is now complete and on Tuesday the brickwork will commence. Changes will then seem slower, until the planks arrive for the floor in about 3 weeks.
After the Christmas break, works began in earnest again last week. We are now on Week 17 of 58 and the building is really starting to take shape. With the high winds prevent us from getting the whole rear frame up before Christmas, we have now caught up and are running to plan.
Week 14 (of 58) began with the long awaited arrival of the crane and the first steel delivery, marking a new stage in the project. By Monday afternoon, the first steels were up and the structure began to become a reality. We have been developing the plans for this building for over 2 years, so to see it start to rising from the ground was an exciting marker point (at least for a Bursar!).
As term ends, the Sports Centre build also finishes one phase, ready to start the next on Monday. The groundworks and footings are complete and the crane mat is in place, ready for Monday morning and the arrival of the crane and the steel frame. By the end of Monday, the building should hopefully be rising out of the ground.
With the weather continuing to be wet, we are pleased to have reached the end of the work on the footings. The diagram below shows the past four weeks of work, with the purple segment showing the first concrete to be poured, orange the second, blue the third and this week, the uncoloured segment that forms the atrium, squash court and changing rooms.
We have been 'flying high' on the site again this week. These pictures, taken last week, by alumnus, Melville James, show the scale of the site when compared against Sheffield House and really help to show how the building will fit into the wider site. The front facade will be visible when entering from the Plymouth entrance but only part of the second floor and roof will be visible from the Reception building. It will act as the link between the fitness suite/swimming pool complex, the sports pitches and the astroturf, forming a sporting focus on the Hill.
This week has been a steady one on the building site, without significant milestones, but the whole site is looking far flatter and ready for a building to be constructed.
The Sports Centre project has taken a step forward this week, as some of the mud has been replaced by concrete. The main focus has been to get the trenches ready for the first pour of the concrete footings for the rear section of the main sports hall. The following two weeks will see the continuing of this process, completing the work on the hall footings and laying the footings of the teaching, changing and reception unit to the front of the building.
Week 8 of the build marks a poignant moment in the School history, as we all mark 100 years since the signing of the armistice treaty at the end of First World War. The School lost 63 former pupils during the hostilities and the image below, taken in about 1905, shows 7 of those boys, sitting on the embankment opposite Swansea House, where we are now digging the foundations of the new Sports Centre. The names of Glenelg Bartrum, Walter Burton, Edwin Davies, Horace Devine, Arthur Kirk, Harold Kirk and Henry Stayte are recorded along with the others who gave their lives, on the memorial in our Chapel. Walking to the site this morning, following our Remembrance Service in Chapel, I took a moment to reflect on the sacrifice made by the boys who sat on the embankment 113 years ago.
Finally we are going up and not just digging down!
The bank is currently being shaped and the foundations for the gabion walls excavated. The gabion baskets are being lined up and the first delivery of stones to fill them has arrived.
By the end of last week the team had moved around 6000 cubic metres of earth, leaving around 3000 more to shift. With the Year 9s away on a battlefield tour in France, we rather aptly began this week with a pretty good attempt at recreating the muddy conditions of a WWI trench here at Kingham. The only resultant loss however, was that of one of our contractors boots, which got stuck in the mud and came off when they pulled him out!
The fourth week of digging has concluded and as the weather has changed, so has the site.
Feeling very blessed here on the Hill, that the weather is holding and as a result we are a little ahead of schedule. This week we have one of our alumni to thank for the aerial images. Melville James was a pupil back in 1958 and we were luckily enough that he was flying over the area and took these great shots.
Mrs Austin and Mr Sheppard this week took some excellent aerial photographs of the building site, which give a far better picture of the scale of the job in hand. The digging is progressing well, but whilst it looks on the surface that lots of earth has been moved, the drone images show how much more has still to be shifted.
Today, pupils saw the first really visible sign of the Sports Centre enabling works that have been taking place over the summer.