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New block for new year

New block for new year
The Grimes Classroom block is purpose-built for students persuing eductaion in food, techonolgy and the arts.

St Bede’s students pursuing education in food technology and the arts will be treated to a brand new purpose-built classroom block early in 2019’s first term.

Named the Grimes Classroom block, the building takes reference from Bishop John Grimes who, in the early 1900s played a significant role in St Bede’s development.

Designed by Christchurch architectural practice Wilkie + Bruce Architects, construction of the two-storey building was awarded to Christchurch commercial building specialists Farrell Construction Ltd through a competitive tender process.

Project manager for Farrell Construction, Andrew Poutney, says that the project commenced in January 2018 and the company has strived to have all construction work completed for the start of the school year.

Sited on the ground of the old tennis court and behind the school’s squash courts, the building’s footprint covers 400sqm and, with the upper level, provides 800sqm of contemporary teaching space designed to cater for an increased role and expected future growth.

“The ground floor incorporates a food technology kitchen and teaching space, storerooms, toilets, plant room, an office and meeting room,” says Andrew.

“The upper level is focused on the arts with photography and design rooms, separate senior and junior arts rooms, print and spray booth, another office and storage space.”

The location of the new building required thrust bore holes to be drilled underground, stemming a conduit mainly for power and sewer services from an existing building to the new site.

“There’s always a risk with thrust boring because you never know what you’re going to strike when you’re drilling underground.”

Construction of the building is comprised of a gravel raft foundation on piles, with precast concrete panels that also carry load, and a steel structure for the roof.

Andrew explains that TIMS (threaded metric) inserts were cast into the concrete panels to provide fixing points enabling the steel structural members to be bolted directly to the concrete structure.

With a tolerance of only a millimetre, precision construction is paramount and a 3D model of the steel and concrete structure was developed, complemented with design co-ordination meetings between the steel designers, concrete pre-fabricators and Farrell Construction. “The moment of truth when steel meets concrete is breathtaking.

“It’s pieces of Mecanno with the Meccano made in four different factories, so you have to hope the design co-ordination has worked out with a high level of accuracy. “We had to make a few minor adjustments on site but it was pretty accurate.”

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