From Cameronian Drive to Marina Park

April of this year brought the culmination of years of hard work, planning and negotiation when Grosvenor's school community made the long - awaited move to its new building in Marina Park. At the time of publication pupils and staff members alike have been benefiting from these new, world class facilities for nearly 3 months - long enough for them to appreciate just how lucky they are. Here Vice - Principal DR ROLLESTON explains just some of the stages and processes which it has taken to get to this point.

The year 2010 will be remembered as another milestone in the history of Grosvenor Grammar School. At the time of writing the new buildings have been operational for some seven weeks; and the focus of all involved with the building programme has significantly shifted from design issues to operational matters. Reflecting on the work undertaken during 2009/2010 conjures memories of the countless man-hours scrutinizing drawings/plans and lists of furniture and equipment, punctuated by meetings with architects, B.E.L.B. officers, contractors, D.E. representatives, the Fire Authority and Building Control and local politicians, to name but a few. However, watching the very first pupils arrive in the new facility brought into sharp focus the reason for having undertaken such a project, viz. to offer the best educational experiences to Grosvenor's most important assets - its pupils.

In many respects, the experience of the last twelve months has been surreal. Since April 2009, the cold, grey skeleton of steel and blockwork developed a life of its own. Firstly, individual rooms began to take shape - resembling the 2D outlines illustrated on plans. Secondly, the central nervous system of the building grew and grew as hundreds of kilometres of cables and conduits connected intelligently one part of the school to another. Thirdly, the skeleton was given flesh as plasterboard appeared on the walls; door apertures were fitted with frames and architraves; and glazed panels sealed the building. Finally, individual rooms were adorned with colour, coverings and furniture. Every visit to the building site heralded change, with old images being replaced with new. Change was apparent all around; moreover, the rate of change increased as the year passed by.

As the winter term proceeded, greater demands were placed on staff as solutions were sought to solve unforeseen problems as the building work progressed. Careful planning and attention to detail was essential - and all too often, there did not appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel. However, the first tangible experience of the building programme for both staff and pupils was the beneficial access to the new Sports Hall on 15th December 2009. Indeed, it was the major attraction of prospective pupils visiting the school during Open Nights in January 2010.

Thursday 25th March witnessed the final time that pupils walked the corridors of the old premises situated on Cameronian Drive. No sooner had the pupils left than the contractors moved in. Indeed, the Sixth Form Centre was handed over to the contractors for demolition on 26 March. In three days, the teaching and non-teaching staff packed their resources/ materials and cleared the classrooms/offices of any unwanted rubbish. During the Easter period, many of our feeder primary schools were given the opportunity to remove any furniture and equipment that could not be transferred to the new school buildings.

Monday, 12 April 2010 marked Service Availability Date; which was the first occasion that the majority of staff had the opportunity to access the building. Like the pupils, staff were both excited and amazed by the new facilities. However, staff only had two days to get their essential resources unpacked and organized before the pupils (in Years 13 and 14, Years 11 and 12 and Years 8 - 10) made their staggered return on the 14th/15th/16th April respectively.

May, June and July will witness the demolition of the old buildings. The latter will be replaced by significant landscaping and a car-park with 200+ spaces; these works will be completed by 19th July 2010. The final phase of the building programme is the formation of the athletics track and the shale hockey pitch which are to be completed by the first week in October 2010.

Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the contributions that key personnel have made to the project. First, the school notes the excellent working relationship with Patton's; in particular, thanks must be given to ROGER CUPITT, PETER DALY, JOE DUFFY (and, more recently MURRAY ELLIOT) who briefed the school on a weekly basis. Secondly, I am indebted to the professionalism of LOUISE MCKEE / MELANIE DAWSON (Patton's) and STEPHEN BOYLE (Project Manager, B.E.L.B.) who advised the school in relation to design issues. Thirdly, it is important to recognize the efforts of the entire staff who ensured that pupils walked into the new building to receive teaching and learning on their very first morning. However, the contributions of two key staff can not be over stated, viz. MRS LENDRUM (who coordinated much of the interior design), and MR

MCLOUGHLIN who devoted many man-hours (often given up during holiday periods), negotiating and ensuring that the new Grosvenor buildings are one of the best post-primary facilities in the province.