As scale goes, it's hard to beat the renovation of a whole building for a model of reusing, reducing and recycling. The site for our permanent home in Whetstone, previously a police station, presents us with an amazing opportunity and over the last few months a small team of governors and I have been working with Keir, the contractor we have appointed jointly with the Education Funding Agency (EFA), to begin planning the transformation of the existing site into our new school. Keir have great experience of building schools; they are currently working on the Archer Academy in Finchley and have previously developed Etz Chaim school in Mill Hill and Rimon School in Golders Green, so with the support of our technical advisors and the EFA, as well as our governors, we have a great deal of expertise working with us to help meet the challenge.
Work so far has focused on the design, working out how to make best use of the space so that we create an environment that will enable us to realise our ambitious plans for exciting and innovative learning. The design phase will be followed by planning, demolition, building and fitting out, with the new building due to be ready for September 2015.
My concern throughout the process has been to focus on the fact that the site isn't just about room sizes and building costs. The school will be a place for learning but also living, for the community of children and the adults who work with them. Our challenge is to turn the site into a space in which we can learn and grow together over the coming years. Fortunately we have this opportunity with the site, which will allow us to continue developing and adapting over the coming years. The development team, including our architects, will provide opportunities for parents and the wider community to see the design in the near future. They will also be coming into school to share the plans with our children.
In a culture which often encourages waste and disposability, it is important to constantly remind ourselves of the environmental and human impact of our actions. We can find ways to reduce our energy use, to reuse the resources we have and to recycle, even to the extent of recycling our school.
For further information regarding the new development, please contact Alma's Finance Chair, Martin Blain, or Adam Goldin, Chair of the Alma site committee via the school office.