At the end of the summer term, small groups of teachers were given the opportunity to don reflective tabards and protective head gear as they ventured into the new build currently dominating the east end of the Senior School site.
Led on the tour by the ever-knowledgeable and friendly Matt Bowler, who is project managing the build on behalf of Beard Construction, teachers were led through the various new teaching rooms and health centre on the ground floor, including the new auditorium that will house our National Theatre Live screenings, plus the huge class room with sound-proof concertina wall down the middle that will enable the space to be broken up into two standard sized teaching rooms.
There was much oohing and aahing as we emerged into the atrium, where the break-out spaces and cafe-style seating for the Sixth Formers will be located, as well as space for temporary art exhibitions. Everyone was very impressed by the wonderful geometric shapes made by the light wells from the first floor, while the more scientifically-minded got into the nitty-gritty of creative ducting (see pics), acoustics and the astonishing weight of those high-spec, argon-filled windows.
Upstairs, much attention was paid to the wonderful floor-length windows that flood the art rooms with natural light as well as the beautiful organic texture of the wood-panelling to the interior of the Velux windows and the impressive physics of the cantilevered western corner of the building. Finally, we went outside and examined the new stainless steel cladding that will be applied to the first floor of the building, and which will undoubtedly give the exterior a lustre to match the creativity within.
Mr Watts (who also took these photos) kindly shared some videos of the interior, the first of which can be seen below and more of which can be seen via his Youtube channel.
At the end of the tour, we were all unanimous in our excitement about January 2020. In the meantime, we can’t wait to show more students around the new build in September (tours have already been conducted for Year 10 and Year 11 groups), or to see the project develop over the coming months through the input of students into the landscaping and interior design.