The New Build
Update 5th Feb 2016
Building update Life is gradually returning to a new ‘normal’ now that (most of) the building work has finished. We began using the new games court last week and Y3 and Y4 are having playtimes together in the open space of the redesigned playgrounds once again. Many thanks to Eve and the group of volunteer parents who have been taking the St. Mark’s groups in recent weeks; your help and the time you have generously given has been invaluable.
Update 18th Jan 2016
Just over a year ago the first ground was broken in the building project that has brought the school five new classrooms (occupied last September), a new kitchen and some significant landscaping of extended play space. The initial planting of hedging and saplings has now been done and this week we are expecting the new kitchen to start producing our school meals on-site once again, although the mid-morning tuck shop won’t be resumed just yet. It is remarkable to consider just how much has changed in that time and how, soon, the project will be completed.
Update 4th Dec 2015
Building update – outdoor spaces. An astonishing transformation has taken place behind the scenes in recent weeks as the layout of the playgrounds has emerged. But there is more to come! A little later there will be seeding and planting of shrubs and trees but first, play equipment and markings. Earlier this year both the Junior and the Infant Schools secured £30,000 each from Sport England to improve their sports facilities, on both sites, through its Primary Spaces Programme.
The Infant school has now completed its installation with a brand new sport court and some painted surfaces in the playground. The Junior school is due to start its own installation in the coming weeks which will include a large sports court at the top end of the school site, to include goals, basketball nets and a net cord, all in an enclosed court with colourful painted surface. Although not shown, the far side of the court will be 2.4m in height to help avoid balls going into the neighbours gardens. In addition, we shall also be improving facilities in the lower part of the site with goals and basketball nets behind the Victorian Building and a small climbing wall and safety surface. In addition, 2 outdoor table tennis tables will be purchased and some outdoor equipment storage. The rationale for this work is to try and help create improved spaces particularly for ball sports which would in turn ensure other informal spaces get freed up for those children who wish to have more general play space. Our thanks go out to Sport England for their financial support, Playforce who we have worked with on the installation and Mealings, for their cooperation in preparing the site. We also wish to give a huge thank you to the PTA who are providing around £4000 to help make the new facilities happen. The PTA raises a lot of money to help the school deliver an excellent environment for the school and are also supporting the purchase of additional IT equipment for the children. If you can spare any time (lots or just a little) to help the PTA with their great work please contact Dionne or Dani for more information (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Building update The next phase of building: the new kitchen, is rapidly taking shape in its hiding place behind the hall. This is due for completion during next term so we are looking forward to being able to produce our own school meals, on site once again, very soon. At the same time, the layout for the redesigned play space is also beginning to be revealed and is destined for completion in the spring.
Update 13th Mar 2015
Building update Although it is still shrouded in scaffolding, it’s now possible to see the size and shape of our new building in all its glory. With the roof completed, the crane has gone and work can now begin on the external finishes and internal fitting out. If you have so far been unable to access the timelapse video on the first phase of building, it can be viewed at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqXCopgWSuY We are hoping to have the next instalment, showing the actual building going up, available on the final newsletter this term.
Accessibility notice: One of the unfortunate side effects of the building work is that we have temporarily been without level access into reception. We are expecting a temporary solution to reinstate level access into the school to be completed over the Easter break but, until then, please be aware that disabled access may be problematic. Please contact us if you have any problems.
Update 1/3 2015
On its way up! With the aid of the most impressive crane, our new building steadily rose from the ground with unbelievable speed, this week. As the compressed timber wall sections were hauled into place, the outline of the building emerged for all to see. The building will continue to form over the next week or two as, first of all, the ground floor ceilings are laid and then the walls of the second storey classrooms follow. A time-lapse recording of the first six weeks building can be found by using the QR code on the newsletter. Alternatively, click on this link
We are now seeing the building take shape as the timber frame is craned into position. Please note that level access to the school is expected to be completed at Easter but, until then, disabled access may be problematic. Please contact us if you have any difficulties.
The concrete foundations have now been poured and will be built up to ground floor level over the next week ready for the pre cast floor beams. During February and into March the timber structure will be delivered and craned into position so you will see lots happening almost every day. We have installed a time lapse camera which will capture all of the action.
The external works and landscaping proposals are now being finalised by the contractor to submit to BANES as part of the conditions attached to the planning consent. As soon as they are available we will display them in reception.
Unfortunately the building works mean that the level access to the main entrance is out of action and BANES will not be providing an alternative due to the short timescales involved. We apologise for this temporary situation and if you are experiencing difficulties please do let us know.
As you will have seen, work has now started on setting up the contractor’s compound and clearing the site. Some mains drainage works have been carried out and they are also preparing for excavating the foundations. In addition, Mealings have been finishing the design work for the cross laminated timber (CLT) frame which will also make up some of the final internal finishes. This is being manufactured off-site and will enable a very quick construction time once delivered – currently scheduled for 4 weeks through February and March.
In consultation with local residents, BANES have now decided not to remove some of the large trees along the boundary.
The Authority is currently estimating the completion of the new classroom block ready for occupation for the start of the new term in September this year. Demolition of the existing kitchen and dining hall and construction of the new kitchen and servery will then take place and completed for February next year.
The school has been discussing options with ICT contractors for the new wi-fi installation which BANES have agreed to fund as part of the project. We hope this will go live across the whole school around Easter along with the provision of some new kit.
The chickens have settled in well at their new home and love the extra freedom, they particularly enjoy foraging for snails and grubs. They happily share this space with a goose and an Indian Runner duck but the local dog, Megan, remains a little scared of them!
The Council are still working on discharging the pre-start conditions attached to the planning consent. We have not been given a revised start date yet but as soon as we have we will notify you in the usual way including details of what the contractor will be doing, where they will be working and any revised access arrangements to the school. In the meantime you can view the proposed building by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page (but please note some of the information may be subject to final-detailing change). Please continue to watch this space.
The new build project has received planning consent and BANES has also appointed a contractor to carry out the works. They are now finalising the detailed design and procuring the major build items and intend to start on site works in November.
The school have met with the contractor and agreed what temporary arrangements might need to be in place over the 15 month build period. These details will be made clear to all parents and pupils via the usual channels over the next few weeks. Until works do start on site there will be no changes to all of the current access arrangements. We will be posting new build updates on this website including progress photos so please visit regularly to see what is going on.
If you would like to view the Planning Officers recommendations, including the conditions attached to the consent, visit the BANES planning website and enter the application reference 14/02309/REG03.
The Headteacher and governing body are pleased to be able to formally announce that B&NES have allocated £1.85 million to 'replace poor quality temporary buildings' and to accommodate a 'projected growth in numbers'. This coupled with the recent Ofsted rating of 'Good' is a major milestone for the school.
Following the response to the first proposals, your comments have been taken on-board and a new team of external consultants are now ready to present new proposals for the expansion of the school to meet local population growth and provide suitable accommodation both for existing and future pupils.
The basic design in terms of accommodation remains as before:
· a new suite of classrooms as an extension to the main school building,
· a new kitchen extension to the hall,
· the demolition of the old substandard classroom units at the rear of the current school building (to be undertaken after the main block is constructed).
There is a need to bring in a temporary double classroom building for accommodation during the construction phase and this will be positioned on the existing playground. This unit will be removed when the new building is completed.
There is a detailed phased construction access plan to show how the contractor will enter and service the site in order to minimise disruption to the local area. The chosen contractor will develop this plan as part of his tender submission.
The Local Authority will be re-submitting the scheme for planning consideration very shortly and any comments you may make to us will be submitted as part of that application.
To this end, the proposals will be on display at the school on Tuesday 20th May, from 3pm to 7pm, where you are welcome to come and discuss this project with B&NES Officers, the Architect and school representatives. After this date, the plans will be on display in the school foyer for your information.
We hope you will agree that the proposal is now significantly improved and addresses some of the issues raised by you previously.
Our priorities remain to maintain the smooth running of the day to day activity of the school, to ensure the well being of the whole school community and to provide clear and consistent communication.
Update w/c 26/05/14
Progress towards our new school facilities is now well underway. BANES held a session at the school on 20th May where the proposals were on display and the design team were on hand to answer questions. Generally the proposals were well received and the Council team are now moving forward generating the detail that will enable them to procure a contractor.
The Council have also s_ubmitted a formal planning application which will follow the set process and be made available for public viewing and formal comment very soon we understand. Some of the plans can be found in the foyer for your information.
Once Planning Consent has been received works will start during Term 1 of the 2014/15 school year. The School are fully involved with the preparatory works that are needed in advance of the main construction to ensure that all school services remain fully operational:
· The safety and security of all children, staff and visitors will be paramount throughout all phases of the development. BANES will ensure that all works are monitored and managed to the highest safety standards.
· All temporary measures will be in place for the start of Term 1 even if building hasn’t started. This is to ensure that all pupils will feel comfortable in their surroundings without the need for disruptive change soon after.
· Through the construction period, expected to be up to a year, some classes will be held in temporary units but these will be fully serviced and completely fit for purpose.
· We will be losing some of our current play area but we are working hard to find ways in which children’s play experience can be maintained and hopefully even enhanced.
· Access to and from the school will be affected and we are looking at the best solutions. Details will be provided well before the end of the school year.
We are working hard to ensure that all the temporary effects of the construction works are minimised as far as possible and this will be an ongoing process. Details and information will be provided as often as possible through all of the usual school communication channels including the website so please check regularly for updates.
The planning application for the new build is now online for comment.