ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END
It is a farewell this month as we post one final entry before closing off our New School web page. Our journey in tracking the building of our new school started in November 2006 when test bores were being carried out to establish ground conditions so that the contractor could plan suitable foundations. It is hard to imagine now that this was once a green field. Now, we have been in our new school for over six months. Realistically, there is no longer a need for this page and so we will turn it over to something else.
In the spring of 2007, work began on the site with the moving of vast amounts of earth. The first task was to strip off the topsoil which would be needed later for grass pitches and landscaping around the new building. Then, serious mountains of earth and stone were dug out to create the necessary levels. Since the new school would be built on a hillside, terraces had to be created since the building would end up having two ground levels.
By the summer of 2007, enough earth-moving had been done to allow work to start on laying foundations. Trenches were dug, vast amounts of concrete were poured in and bolts were set, ready to take the steel frame. One of the most impressive aspects of the building was the construction of a massive retaining wall (at that time, certainly, the biggest of its kind to have been built in Scotland) to separate the upper and lower ground floors. This huge wall disappeared, of course, once the building went up.
By the autumn of 2007, the shape of the new building was beginning to become apparent as the steelwork (shipped over from Northern Ireland) was erected. It was amazing to see what a crane operator and a handful of steel erectors could achieve as one piece of steel after another was hoisted into position and bolted to its neighbours. Work started at the ends of each of the school’s four wings and moved steadily towards the centre.
WALLS GO UP
Since the construction work was carefully planned in stages, it was possible for builders to move into one wing while the steel erectors moved on to the next. Even by November of 2007 (remember that the site had still been a field less than eight months earlier), walls were going up and the interior of the school began to take shape. The decision to use pink blockwork on the outer walls worked extremely well in relating to the cream paintwork and cedar timber sections.
Throughout 2008, work proceeded phase by phase across this giant building. The steelwork was finished, external and internal walls were completed and a vast network of pipes and cables snaked its way along every corridor and into every room. Before we knew it, walls were being plastered and painted, carpets were being laid and furniture was being put in place. The science laboratory above was photographed in March 2009 and the corridor with its cream on one side and signature red walls on the other is shown two months later.
AND HERE WE ARE
Just before the summer holidays in 2009, we packed up our belongings from the old school into 3000 crates and headed up the hill. Staff were able to come in during the break to organise their rooms and pupils arrived at the start of term in August. All those involved in Scottish Borders Education Partnership who built the school can be intensely proud – as our entire school community is proud – of what we have achieved here together. We have a school which is stunning in every aspect. We thank all our readers (some in far off places) who have shared our journey on this web page.