After a number of cold weekends finishing off the last bits of snagging, Building Control came for a final inspection, and issued their Certificate of Completion at the end of December. So on Friday, roughly 15 months since beginning the project, we finally held an official opening for the new pavilion! The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the start of the day just after assembly, and was attended by the Student Council – two pupils from each year group – as well as a few parents who have been strong supporters of the project. I gave a brief talk in assembly before the opening to let everyone know it was taking place, and also to encourage the school community to contribute comments and ideas to the exhibition about the project – which is up in the foyer for the next couple of weeks. As a Church of England state school, we were joined by the local vicar, Reverend Tony Bundock, who spoke very beautifully about thankfulness, the school’s theme for the term. The headteacher, Mrs Grimsey, said a few words of thanks to everyone involved with the project, and commented that it had put Lacey Green – and St. John’s – on the map both locally and nationally. In return, I thanked Mrs Grimsey for giving me the opportunity to embark on this project in the first place, and for her support through all the ups and downs!
Over Christmas I finally had a chance to count up the total of all the in-kind donations we received towards the project (everything from timber, to concrete, to transport) … which came to £35,000! This doesn’t include things like the free CNC-cutting we were able to carry out at Grysmdyke Farm, or the time of all the volunteers who helped with construction. It’s really an amazing testament to the support, generosity and enthusiasm of small companies and individuals who’ve enabled this project. I thanked them all – but gave special thanks (and a hug!) to Keith Bullock, the school caretaker, who’s stuck with me right until the end to complete the building work.
So now it’s time to move on to Phase 2, which will involve the enclosure of the structure as an interior space. I’m holding a community consultation / design workshop to develop ideas for this next Saturday 23rd January, with the aim to submit a planning application by the end of March. Building on the funding already received from the RIBA McAslan Bursary, the plan is to raise money for this work, and employ a contractor to carry it out over the summer holidays. Alongside this, I’m finalizing the brief and program for the next Lacey Green Visiting School, which will be focused on the design and fabrication of furniture for the new space. I’ll have some really interesting collaborators joining me as tutors and critics this year, and will be taking applications in a few week’s time, so please spread the word if you know anyone who’s interested…
Special thanks to Alex Dickie & Ines Neto Dos Santos for the lovely photos!