Karl Taylor is project manager at the Chertsey High School project in Addlestone. This year, the site team will be inviting members of the public in for Open Doors Week 2019. Here, he talks about the success of the site and how engaging with the local community has been key to this success.

 “Chertsey High School, a new secondary school being funded by the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and overseen by The Bourne Education Trust, is being constructed on the former site of the Runnymede Centre. The development is part of Surrey County Council’s plan to meet the ever-growing demand for secondary school places in the Surrey area and once complete, the school will have capacity for 900 pupils from 11 to 16 year-olds.

The new school will be constructed on the site of the former school, Runnymede Centre. This was most recently used as office accommodation for over 200 staff and following a refurbishment to a small section of the building, it is now being used as a temporary secondary school for the first intake of 180 pupils. This negates the need for any temporary school buildings during the construction.

The project started on site in March 2018 and the Kier team will be delivering a school which will include state-of-the-art facilities including; a multi-use games area, an external amphitheatre, a dance studio, sports hall, main hall and a dining hall, as well as the main teaching block. The school is set to open in 2019 for the first cohort of students in September. To clear space for the build, works to carefully demolish the remainder of the existing building that is not in occupation have started, with the demolition of the remaining school building planned to be completed in February 2020.

The project team is doing an excellent job and has recently received 10/10 in a client satisfaction survey as well as an overall rating on 44/50 (excellent) from its second Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) audit in November 2018.  

Key to these recent recognitions is the team understanding the importance of good community engagement and being a good neighbour by engaging with local stakeholders. We understand the development works can be an inconvenience to the community and we work hard to minimise disruption. Early on in the project we made direct contact with immediate stakeholders that will be impacted throughout the build and we have been providing monthly newsletter updates displayed on the schools site regarding the progress of the build.

Linking with Chertsey High School was vital for the project team and to do this we utilised the Kier Shaping Your World™ campaign to inspire 11-15-year-olds to consider careers in the built environment. We put a Virtual World Plaque™ on the project hoarding to allow passers-by to scan the plaque to learn more about the project and the people working on it. As part of the initiative we have held a number of community engagement events with the school and public to try and encourage more people to join the built environment and boost the image of the construction industry. One such activity was an engagement day on site where we invited students, parents and teachers to attend. The day was all about

These have included a school activity day on site with 12-year-old students from Chertsey High School. This incorporated the use of a 3D model and VR headset to navigate through their new school; a teachers tour which gave the teaching staff a chance to see the progress and we also invited local dads and children to watch the demolition of the main reception area from outside the site boundary as part of the ‘Who Let the Dads Out’ day organised by The Hub Coffee shop next door.  

I’m excited to invite the public to the site for Open Doors Week and to be able to show them the progress of the project. This campaign is vitally important to improving the perception of the built environment as well as promoting the industry as a great place to work for the next generation. This has been a great project to work on and I look forward to it providing an amazing learning environment in Addlestone.”

To find out more about Open Doors Week, or to book a site visit, go to: https://opendoors.construction/