A BRAND-new school built almost entirely in a factory has risen from the rubble while the country has been in lockdown.
The unique creation of the new building for Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, has been captured on timelapse video over the last 12 weeks, as the modular building has been delivered to site in sections.
Building contractor, Caledonian Modular has worked within government guidelines during the Coronavirus pandemic to keep the project moving.
Now, the 198 individual modules are in place in Tendring Road, having been built in a factory in the Midlands and arrived complete with concrete flooring, internal fit out and external cladding.
Lucia Glynn, BMAT head of operations, said: “It looks fantastic! “Working with the Department for Education and Caledonian, we are still hopeful for our 2021 opening. Our thanks go to all involved for continuing to push on through what continue to be very difficult circumstances. This has been classified as essential work by the government and so permission was granted by the Secretary of State for Education for work to continue as safely as possible.
“The new building we have created is fit for 21st century learning. It has been very interesting for us to watch the modules brought onto site like Lego and turned into a building.”
Sir Frederick Gibberd College opened in temporary accommodation in September 2019 with its first cohort of 120 Year 7 students.
Headteacher Dee Conlon, who visited the factory in November where the modules were put together, said: “Seeing the 2D plans we worked on for a year standing in front of me in real life was incredible.
“We saw the process of making the units from the beginning to end and physically walked around in our main reception, library and dining hall. I kept imagining my children in their navy and yellow uniform reading, playing and eating in those spaces. I could almost hear their chatter and laughter.
“Our families, children and staff cannot wait for the school to be completed and not just because it will be a brand-new shiny building, but because it will be our home; a safe place to learn, laugh and grow.”
The secondary school is due to move across to the new building in 2021 when its new academic sixth form, with 500 places, will also open.
Barrie Newman, Caledonian project director, said: “Caledonian are very pleased to be undertaking this full turnkey scheme directly for the DfE to provide 1,700 urgently needed school pupil places in Harlow.”
In the meantime, Sir Frederick Gibberd students work from a temporary building on the site of fellow BMAT school Burnt Mill Academy.
Work to convert further accommodation at Burnt Mill to house the next cohort will start soon to be ready for this September.
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