A short update on the progress of the New Build..
We’re please to be able to say that we’re still on schedule to move into the new building in Easter next year (just over 6 months away!).
The roof & external frame are completed, and the majority of the windows and louvres are in and glazed (apart from a couple which are used as material loading bays). The ground floor external brickwork is almost complete, and works to install the external insulation material is well underway.
The work to connect the electric, gas and water mains services in Foxhall Road took longer than was originally planned, principally due to the number of different organisations and services involved, and working on a busy road which already contains a maze of utilities. This was completed just prior to the start of the new term, but meant that the next phase of these works could not be completed over the holidays as planned. These works involve digging a drainage trench along the service road from Foxhall Road and into the new site. The aim is to complete these within the first two/three weeks of term – we apologise for this inconvenience.
On happier news, the extension of the existing 6th-form carpark is now complete and available for general use. There are still some elements to be added to this (flood lighting, and an electric car charging point), but it is fully operational and these will be added in the coming months.
The first image shows the car park extension, providing 32 spaces plus disabled bay, with lighting and electric car charging point to follow
The next element to the external building envelope is to apply a ‘rough’ render coat to the insulation, followed by a final top coat.
Internally the walls are being installed and plastered, and these will be closely followed by ‘first fix’ (the initial power, data, and ventilation services installation).
In these images you can see the brickwork to the lower floor, and the insulation slab being applied above this line. The second image shows the ‘rear’ of the building with the temporary loading bays clearly visible (framed in white)
The historic issues with drainage/flooding in the driveway from Foxhall Road are being addressed, but unfortunately there is no quick fix.
We’ve commissioned high-pressure jetting and a CCTV survey of the existing drainage and this revealed significant root ingress/damage to the underground pipework. To resolve this we have placed an order for the damaged pipework to be replaced, and for an additional drain to be installed. We are hoping that these works will be carried out during the October half term, and apologise for the inconvenience.
This flooding is exacerbated by the flash floods, but caused by root damage to the drains. The damage is being addressed and an additional drain is also being added.
The project is still on schedule and we are really pleased with the progress made so far.
The underfloor drainage is now complete and all of the floors are now now in place.
Current works involve spraying the steel frame with intumescent paint, installing the upstand to the roof, and adding the Steel Frame System (SFS) to the structural frame.
The images above show the view from the Foxhall Road side
Image showing the SFS in place and the external board being installed
The SFS holds the windows and is what the external board/insulation is then attached to, and we can see that the board-installation works have already started.
The work to cover the roof is also starting, and following the external board will be the installation of the windows.
This image show the internal space, with the SFS stored whilst being installed. You can see the internal corridor in the middle, and a pre-cast staircase at the end
In terms of planning we’re now finalising some of the finer details (wall colours, toilet cubicles, light switches, hand dryers, lift finishes etc), some of which need to be ordered well in advance.
Further meetings are planned, where we’ll be discussing the managing the IT elements (printing, projectors etc) and the logistics of relocating some large curriculum departments in a short timeframe (Easter holidays 2020), whilst ensuring we minimise disruption to learning and to those preparing for/taking exams in particular.
Some members of our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) had their first opportunity to get onto the site recently, and I think the general consensus was very positive. Without internal walls it’s hard to visualise the spaces, but you can certainly see the newly created views.
Finally a few images of how some of the new spaces are planned to look:
The project is on schedule and we are really pleased with progress.
The steel frame is now fully formed, and so the scale and location of the new building can be seen above the safety hoardings.
The pre-formed concrete flooring planks have now all been craned into place and secured, as have all of the sections in each of the three stairs. Work to grout these is well underway, and is due to be completed by 24/05/19.
The next phases include the pouring of the ground floor 'slab' and installation of the steel frame system (SFS), which covers the outside of the building and will support the vertical boards, insulation and render. These works are due to commence next week (w/c 20/05/19), and the works to the roof will commence shortly after.
We have also completed works to bring a new water main onto the site (from Foxhall Road), and have installed a new Electricity sub-station and associated housing.
Some of the structural steel frame being delivered to site
Part of the steel frame on-site and ready to be installed
A section of steel frame being craned into position
The trench for the new water main, from Foxhall Road, which was carried out over the Easter holidays in order to minimise disruption as far as possible
A view from the 6th-form block - one of the sections of pre-cast floor planks being craned into position
The steel frame and stairs complete - a view from the site accomodation
Works are progressing well, the temporary accommodation is fully installed along with hard-standing for site vehicles and a security gatehouse/entrance, which helps to keep site traffic away from the road and school driveway.
The new service road near the 6th-form block is now complete and has been handed over to the school. This enables the contractors to gain access to the construction area, whilst maintaining full access to the school and playing fields for maintenance and emergency vehicles.
The piling mat was completed across the site, and the piling works were then completed across the footprint of the new building. There are then 'pile caps' and 'ground beams' constructed and set on top of these piles, and this work is currently in progress.
The temporary accommodation at commission stage, and the site vehicle parking area
The replacement service road near to the sixth form block is now fully in use
The ground is prepared for the piling works to begin
Piling works taking place - this involves boring a circular hole into the ground, installing steel reinforcement and then filling the bore hole with concrete to form a pile.
The tops of the piles are excavated and prepared ready for the pile caps and ground beams to be put in place
The pile caps and ground beams are 'cages' formed from reinforced steel, constructed on site, positioned on the piles and filled with concrete. Once these are fully set they are ready to accept the steel frame, and this phase of the works is due to commence shortly.
As planned, work commenced on site on 7th January 2019, and the first few weeks were primarily based around setting up the site area, positioning boundary fencing/hoarding, and installing the temporary services and accommodation. A temporary car-park and turning/delivery area has been constructed on the site area, which ensures deliveries and construction traffic are kept away from nearby public roads and school roadways as much as is possible.
Solid hoarding surrounds the site, ensuring effective and safe segregation, and minimising disruption to the school
Early ground works involve a soft-strip to remove the top soil (which is stored for later use), and the construction of a temporary roadway, carpark & delivery/turning area. Preparation for the site accommodation (offices, changing rooms, toilets etc) is also under way
A complete new school building to replace our older classrooms and an exciting opportunity to grow and meet the needs of our community
We are delighted that we were successful in our bid to the Educating and Skills Funding Agency (known as the ESFA) for their school building programme called the Priority Schools Building programme (or PSBP2).
PSBP2 aims to rebuild and refurbish school blocks that are deemed to be in the most need across the county, in terms of their condition. In the first phase (PSBP1) 240 schools were rebuilt and/or refurbished and these are now all finished. We are in the second phase (PSBP2), in which we are one of 277 schools who are getting blocks rebuilt and/or refurbished, all of which are due to open by the end of 2021.
Copleston is already over-subscribed and knowing that our local community have the need for additional secondary school places, we have also taken this opportunity to work with Suffolk County Council to increase the number of places that Copleston will be able to accommodate, increasing from the around 1,800 which are on role currently, to a total of around 1,950 by 2024.
Once it was confirmed that we were had been successful in our bid, Copleston employed Ian Lipman as Project Manager to oversee the design, development, implementation, co-ordination and review of the project. This will help us maximise the benefits of the new build and expansion, whilst minimising the impact on our learners, teachers and community, whilst this significant construction project is carried out.
The past 18 months have been spent working closely with the ESFA, Suffolk County Council, the builders (Wates), the Architects (LSI) and the rest of the project team on developing the design proposals. This process involves considering a myriad of different factors including site layout, location, proximity, daylight, noise, ground conditions, transport, environmental considerations, logistics and more.
The proposed design was then made available to key stakeholders, including parents and nearby residents, at our Public Consultation event on 17th July 2018.
We obtained full planning consent from Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee on 12/12/2018, and so work will start on site on 07/01/2019.
The programme could be affected by various factors but our indicative timescales, are as follows:
- Work starts on site – January 2019
- Move into the new building – April 2020
- Demolition of the relevant existing buildings – July-October 2020
- Landscaping and external works completed – by February 2021
The works will involve constructing a new three-story school building on the current school field to the south of the site (Foxhall Road side), which means that its construction can take place with the minimum of disruption or risk to the students, teachers or visitors to the school. This also means that the significant number of community users of our facilities and sports provisions, will experience the minimum possible impact.
Once the construction phase is completed we will relocate the furniture, fittings and equipment into the new building and then those older buildings that have been replaced will be demolished. Again, with a clear separation between the two elements, the demolition (and subsequent landscaping), can take place with the minimum possible disruption to the day-to-day operation of the school and to the local community.
Some key benefits above our existing facilities
The new building will be furnished with a combination of both new and legacy furniture and equipment from the existing school. The new learning spaces will be light, with a combination of natural and efficient artificial light. Warm in the winter and cooled in the summer via a mechanically assisted natural ventilation system, the new classrooms will provide fresh air and effective local temperature control for learners, which will be a great benefit to students and staff alike. The new building is designed to be fully accessible and will provide easy access to all areas for all, sympathetic acoustics, and the incorporation of visual enhancements, so as to maximise the aspirational opportunities for all of our students.
The completed landscape strategy seeks to create a coherent and easy to navigate environment, with a combination of grassed areas and hard play on the site of the demolished buildings, with the retention of the existing allotments and memorial garden. This will give the school a new outdoor area with enhanced planting, more trees, and new stair towers and a lift to the retained C block.
The ‘L’ Shaped building form, with a central circulation route, has been developed as a simple and efficient way to access all of the classroom spaces. This will be significant improvement on the current narrow corridors, which were not designed for the number of students we now have. With three sets of stairs positioned at either end and in a central orientation zone, and a lift, water fountains plus accessible WC’s, also in the central location on each floor.
Noisier activities and those requiring deliveries have been positioned on the side facing the access road, whereas quieter facilities such as the new library/Learning Resource Centre are positioned on the first floor, overlooking the field. These new teaching spaces and the environmental features that are incorporated in them will provide our students with a higher quality learning environment, far more suited to the needs of young people today and in the future.
As well as considering the natural lighting, acoustic and ventilation requirements of the individual teaching spaces, a daylighting analysis has also been undertaken on the building form, to ensure the minimum of overshadowing to neighbouring properties and neighbours.
We feel that this is a fantastic opportunity for our current and future students, and for the whole community. With effective fresh-air and temperature controls, wider corridors, improved acoustics and new IT infrastructure, the new teaching spaces will provide a fantastic learning experience, designed to meet the needs of modern-day learners.
The new facilities will provide us with a rare opportunity to expand to meet the growing needs of the community, whilst being able to not only maintain our existing high standards of behaviour, teaching, learning and support, but also to develop these further, providing our students with the best possible future.