New Sports Centre

4 weeks to handover
Catriona Thompson

With the clock ticking down, space by space, the Sports Centre is taking on a new feel, as rooms are completed. This week the squash court liner was filled with sand and the line markers put in place.

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5 weeks to go!
Catriona Thompson

The climbing wall is complete.  It has had all the routes set and belay points installed, including an auto-belay, and will allow a whole class to participate in a climbing activity concurrently. The squash court is now lit and ready for Court Care to return to site to finish the walls and lay the wooden floor. 

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Less than 2 months to go
Catriona Thompson

This week we were lucky enough to receive a few more aerial pictures of the site, which now also show the walkway to the pitches.  The cedar cladding has progressed a bit further since these were taken, as seen in the photograph below taken this morning, with only a few more pieces to be attached at high level. 

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The glazing goes in
Catriona Thompson

The curtain glass wall at the front of the building was installed just in time for the pupils returning this week, alongside the blue detailing on the draft lobby. The cedar cladding continues, with the contractors carefully selecting the different lengths and colours required.

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10 weeks and counting ...
Catriona Thompson

External works continue a pace, with soffit details, cedar panelling and guttering being fitted. From a distance, many of these small details are hard to see, but they are what pull the building together, to create the final architectural design.

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A glimpse of the past and present
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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Crane and roofing return
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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Summer at last
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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A soggy site
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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First panels fitted
Catriona Thompson

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!

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Another bird's-eye view
Catriona Thompson

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.

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Taking shape
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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25 weeks to go!
Catriona Thompson

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!).

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The view from the roof
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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Planting begins
Catriona Thompson

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.

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Stone work progressing
Catriona Thompson

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.

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Halfway there!
Catriona Thompson

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.

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A view from up top
Catriona Thompson

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.  

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A windy week makes for slow progress
Catriona Thompson

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.

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A rooftop view
Catriona Thompson

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.  

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Roofing begins
Catriona Thompson

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! 

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Half Term sees us reach Week 23
Catriona Thompson

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.

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'Craning' for a look at the new floor
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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Progress slowed by the snow
Catriona Thompson

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.

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One third done
Catriona Thompson

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.

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We've been framed!
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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A view from the top!
Catriona Thompson

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.

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An exciting finish to the term
Catriona Thompson

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!).

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Ready for the next phase
Catriona Thompson

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.

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Footings Complete
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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The site continues to be 'flying high'
Catriona Thompson

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.

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The building plans feel more 'concrete' now
Catriona Thompson

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.

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Remembering the past whilst building the future
Catriona Thompson

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. 

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Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!
Catriona Thompson

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!

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Dirt digging and mud moving
Catriona Thompson

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.  

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