On my tour of the old building on April 13th, I got my first view of the new build from the old – from one of the ICT Suite north-facing windows to be precise. It was an interesting change in perspective. The view isn’t as pleasing on the eye as the leafy Junior School grounds used to be, but it isn’t awful either and it will improve. On my way out of the building, I also took some shots of how the wood panelling on the south side of the new build was progressing. This façade will be two-thirds glass and only one third metal finish.
There was no time to visit the new build that day, but it looked very busy through the entrance. Conal Stamp gave me a wave though.
The following Wednesday, however, I was able to get inside to see how things were taking shape. Rather than through the Main Entrance in the south-east corner of the building, Peter and I entered the Ground Floor from the north side – basically through a door space in the outer wall of what will be the new Fitness Suite (35).
The whole north side of the Ground Floor, the area nearest to the Sports Hall, is the domain of the PE Dept. As I understand it, as well as being used by the girls, the Fitness Suite will be open to the public.
From here (a route you can follow yourself in the video at the end of this post), we went west down the side corridor and turned left into the Main Hall area, right in the very centre of the building. Entering the Hall at this point at the moment, you can see straight through to the open-plan Dining Area beyond it and then the windowed wall which will look out onto the Pupil Plaza between the two buildings.
The Dining Area will be the main recreation space for NHSG girls.
In the outside area today, a mechanical digger was at work in the area between the two buildings soon to become the Pupil Plaza.
As the floor plan for the First Floor clearly shows, the Hall Auditorium roof space expands right up into the centre at first floor level.
We made our way up to the First Floor today via the back stairs (in the building’s north-west corner). Toilets are also situated here. At the moment, this approach provides an impressive view of the Hall.
The teaching rooms on this floor of the building are allocated to Mathematics and Humanities. In the north-east corner there is a Conference Room and the Staff Area occupies the south-east one.
The Second Floor of the new build is largely devoted to Science.
There is a small Spiritual Room on the south side of this floor, but, other than that, this is all Laboratory and Science Prep Room land. On this level we met Jonathon and a colleague, who work for NEIT, in the process of installing network cabling throughout the building.
We bumped into them on the corridor leading onto the open-plan Science Demonstration Area, an important new feature of NHSG.
The Lab furniture isn’t due to be delivered until June 13th so, for the moment, all the rooms designated as laboratories look pretty much the same. They are either self-contained or adjoin the Roof Terrace.
The Roof Terrace will undoubtedly be a huge asset to the new school. It is to include a Roof Garden along its western edge (overlooking St Mary’s Court), seating and possibly a greenhouse too.
We finally made our way down to ground level again via the back staircase which, like the front one, contains toilets on every level.
The fact that April 20th was a lovely sunny day was a real bonus, but I’m sure you’ll agree the new building is really starting to look good.