An informant for the Trash told that the new building, of which construction was originally set to begin in January 2015, but was then postponed to April/May (yeah, just before exam season, how clever), before being pushed even further back to July (because the Exams Office pointed out that they can't obstruct an exam centre during exam season), is to be built completely under the whim of the local Camden Council, with the school having no say as to where it is situated on the school grounds, what the design is (hence why it looks so ugly), how many classrooms and how to allot the funds that have been given for it. This comes as a vast juxtaposition to the original deal, that was about to go through in 2010, where the school would be given a grant by the government and they would have complete control over the construction and funds; older readers will remember the design sessions with architects that ceased to occur as soon as the grant was slashed by the current government.
The council, in their usual fashion, have not been the most intelligent in their handling of the situation, and have excommunicated the school, to the point where, in one case, the school wasn't informed of the arrival of the men taking measurements on site until they arrived on the school's doorstep and stated their intent on the day. There has been no communication between Management, Staff and Students simply because they know so little of the situation. We can also say with certainty that the school will get no say in any factor of the construction, they will simply have to let the diggers on the site when Camden Council says 'go'. For the first time in a while, disenfranchisement and lack of Freedom of Speech run all the way up the School's Chain of Command.
However, the little information that we can glean is, as well as the aforementioned, that the current New Block will remain in use whilst the New Building is erected (yes, we said erected, grow up), and the New Building will be built in front, laying waste to the Quad and, much to the sadness of every Year 7, our beloved pond. Not only does this throw up the problem of the destruction of the environment that holds the little nature we have on site (let's face it, the Ecology Area doesn't count), but will also create a light trap between the New Building and the English Block, making that small corridor gloomy at the best of times. There will also come a point when neither building will be able to be in use, and porta-cabins will have to be used, throwing up questions as to why they wish to keep the New Block in the first place. Equally, there will be no funds for new equipment in the New Building, meaning old equipment will have to be transferred from the New Block, making the New Building nothing but an un-subsiding shell. The point of a New Building in 2010 was not only to replace the current block, that was only supposed to last 10 years (and now has 'lasted' 54), but to provide new facilities as well.
We here at the Trash are appalled at the handling of the situation, and how Camden Council will hold onto any power they are given. We believe that the details of the construction, layout, design and contents should be in the power of the school, as it should be the case that the construction is working around the school, not the school around the construction. After all, this is a place of learning, not a place of building. Camden Council have been not been known for their great decisions in the past; allowing the construction of the new Emmanuel School building on Mill Lane (that is somehow bright purple) on the C11 bus route, and the 'West Hampstead Square' construction on West End Lane, again on the C11 Bus Route, that has involved up to a reported 40 construction vehicles passing through the main road every day. Both of these projects have undoubtedly made students that use the C11 bus severely late on numerous occasions (and were perhaps the root of the 08:40 to 08:35 change). We empathise, for the first time in a long time, with the School Management, and are willing to join forces with the school over this matter, to fight for more of a say.
Key Facts about the New Building:
- Construction set to begin in July 2015, but could be postponed even further.
- 18 month build time
- School has no say in any matter concerning the New Building (Camden Council have power over Design, Size, Number and Size of Classrooms, division of funds, start date and contractors)
- Funds have been given to Camden Council from the government, not to the School directly
- New Block to be replaced due to subsidence (the building was only built to last 10 years)
- The New Building is billed to last for the next 95 years
- Measurements of the Site were taken without the SLT's prior knowledge
- No new equipment built into the cost; old equipment to be transferred from the New Block
- New Building to be built in front of the New Block, consuming the Quad
- Playing fields and a gym hall to be developed at the back of the school grounds.