ONE YEAR into the contract to build the new Anderson High School and associated halls of residence at Lerwick’s lower Staney Hill, work is now under way to make both buildings wind and watertight.
With the concrete frames of both buildings now complete, Morrison Construction is on programme to deliver the £56 million high school and halls of residence on time for the September 2017 opening.
The company’s project director Mark Clarke said the construction work was going well and every advantage had been taken of the reasonable weather to date.
He wanted to thank the people of Shetland who had clearly been repeating the mantra “sunny to September ’17” and with a few odd departures had kept it that way.
“We can’t take anything for granted here so we are making hay at every opportunity at the moment.” he said.
In June contractors got under way installing the “envelope” of both buildings, consisting of three elements: the roofing, curtain walling and cladding.
Clarke explained: “The material we are using for the roofing is primarily Kalzip, a metal sheet roofing material.
“You get a single sheet that goes up one side of the roof and then put an adjacent sheet beside it, and effectively zip the two together so that you get a weather seal.
“The curtain walling is the glazed aspects of the school. It is called curtain walling because it is glass hung on the side of the building as opposed to standard windows.
“The complement of the curtain walling that gives you the opaque aspect is the cladding.”
Morrison Construction are targeting having both buildings wind and watertight by October. That would give contractors sufficient time and protection to carry out the internal work during winter months.
While much of the focus in recent months has been on the new high school, the new 100-bed halls of residence is very much an integral part of the overall project and will have to be a “home from home” for many pupils as of September next year.
Janet Courtney Hostel manager George McGhee says that he, staff and pupils have been closely involved in the planning process for the new halls of residence.
“Plans were laid out and kids were asked what they would like to see in the new hostel,” he said. “I can’t say anything other than that pupils have been fully involved and listened to.
"I made sure we handed in a list of what they wanted, and 99 per cent of the suggestions were very good such as different areas to socialize in that also included quieter areas.
“Residents here also asked for a proper music room; so I asked for two music rooms and we are getting them. They should be sound proof.”
All bedrooms will have en-suite facilities, and while the vast majority of rooms are single occupancy there are also 12 twin bedrooms as well as a weekend flat.
The ground floor will be taken up with dining facilities and plenty of social spaces, as well as the additional support unit. Needless to say, there will be wifi internet installed throughout the building.
Clarke said that for him the “real key” with the building would be its “newness and freshness”.
“It will give pupils a very fresh and a much more current and up-to-date style of living,” he said.
That said, the biggest challenge for life in any hostel environment is to make it as un-institutional as possible.
McGhee has built a long and successful career on that principle, and he would like to see that to continue after he retires from his post this October.
He said: “We have to ensure that life in the hostel is as homely and as friendly as we can possibly make it for the young people of Shetland.
“They are Shetland’s future, we have to prepare them for moving on.”