‘Quiet, Please!’: Sports Hall Still On Church High Time, 6th April 2016

Newcastle Church High Sports Hall

How many bricks are there in the Sports Hall?  It was a game some staff used to play in the summer at exam invigilation time.  I didn’t.  Numbers have never been my thing.  But if one of my ex-colleagues reading this remembers, perhaps they could tell us via a Comment.  I know a post on the Sports Hall should probably be focusing on PE, but, as an English teacher, I spent most of my time there invigilating.

The Sports Hall set out for external exams in the summer of 2014.
The Sports Hall set out for the external exams in July 2014.

Up until April 6th, the Sports Hall was the only place on the main site I hadn’t visited with my camera.  This wasn’t just because it wasn’t my natural domain.  As the building is to be retained as part of the new school, for a long while it remained untouched, a safe storage space.  However, learning that Wates were working on it now, since Peter was needed on the fork-lift again, Eddie took me there today.

Eddie leads the way to the Sports Hall on April 6th.
Eddie leads the way to the Sports Hall today.

As can be seen from the plans, to allow optimum space for the new build, only a narrow alleyway now leads to the Sports Hall entrance.

Wates' plans for the new build showing the Sports Hall.
Wates’ plans for the new building including the Sports Hall.

If you can recall the original plans when the Sports Hall was built in 2002, you will have spotted the difference.  To accommodate the new building’s north-west corner, the angled section of the entrance lobby was demolished and the area sealed off ever since.

The original Church High fire plans for the Sports Hall.
Original Church High fire plans for the Sports Hall & offices.
Sealed off Sports Hall entrance area, post-demolition, taken from new build roof, January 13th Tour.
The sealed off Sports Hall entrance lobby area, post-demolition, taken from the new build roof during my January 13th first Site Tour.
The sealed off stud walls post-demolition in January 2016.
Brickwork now recommencing in this area (Giuseppe.cam).

Thanks to photographs taken by Wates themselves and Giuseppe, you can see below how the entrance lobby has been reconfigured.

Girders take the strain while the section of brickwork to the right is replaced.
Girders take the weight of the structure while the area of brickwork to the right is matched & replaced (Wates’ Image).
The brickwork is nearly complete.
The new brickwork is now complete (G.cam).
Work now commences on the new front section.
The new frontage is completed next (G.cam).
The roof comes next (G.cam).
The frame for the roof comes next (G.cam).

Eddie had told me they were busy creating two wet rooms in the entrance and, as we approached the building, the first thing I saw was someone hard at work in a trench installing new pipes and drains.

Drainage for the new wet rooms being installed.
Drainage for the wet rooms being installed.

After ducking under the scaffolding, trying hard not to bang my helmet, I could now see the reshaping of the lobby interior for myself.

The reconfigured lobby area facing the new entrance.
Inside the reconfigured lobby area facing the new entrance.
The two new wet rooms are a work in progress at the moment.
The two new wet rooms are a work in progress at present.

For a full tour through the old toilet & changing room areas and all four corners of the Sports Hall itself as I found them on the 6th April, there is a slideshow at the end of this post.  However, the main impressions which struck me were not of sporting achievements, but of entering a time-warp which took me back to the summer of 2014.  It was strangely disorientating, knowing how much had changed elsewhere on site, to see the store cupboard full of Church High equipment as it had been left.  Also the exam desks and particularly the circular Dining Hall tables neatly stacked at the back of the hall.

The store cupboard still full of kit.
The store cupboard is still full of equipment.
The remnants of Church High at the back of the hall.
The remnants of Church High clustered at the back of the hall.

The bright red bricks of the large donors’ plaque which was displayed on the side wall of the entrance lobby caught my eye next.

New Century Challenge donor bricks plaque.
The New Century Challenge Appeal donation bricks plaque.

But it was the exam board regulations still in place on the walls and the flipchart showing the Church High centre number & details of the last exam propped up against the wall which affected me most.

The exam board regulations are still up on the walls.
The exam board regulations are still in place upon the walls.
The flipchart showing the very last exam.
The flipchart still shows the very last exam.

However, something even more evocative awaited me in the far corner as we made our way back across the hall towards the door.  Not only was there a lone exam desk and table still set up next to the central heating units now scattered across the floor, but the clock next to the basketball net on the east wall was still actually working.

A lone exam desk and chair in the south-east corner.
A lone exam desk & chair sit in the far corner.

Even now, the Sports Hall is still running on Church High time.

The last bastion of Church High time.
Sports Hall clock: the very last bastion of Church High time.


One thought on “‘Quiet, Please!’: Sports Hall Still On Church High Time, 6th April 2016”

  1. Since this post references old ‘Church High’ time, just letting you know a new video has recently been added to the Heritage website. It’s basically an archive of the main events of the last academic year of the School and can be found under Media on the Goodbye Church High page. More videos will be added to that page, bit by bit, so you may want to keep your eye on it.

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