Thursday 16th July 2009 by C. Freeman
Eight students at Brooke Weston were treated to a tour of Corby's new £19.8m flagship pool complex before its official opening. The students have signed up for the new construction diploma which starts in September and, as an introduction to their studies, they were invited to tour the leisure complex, which opens later this month.
Facility manager Liz Hudson and Ian Williamson, from builders Willmott Dixon, gave a 45-minute tour of the building which rests on 500 piles which were driven 10 metres into the ground to support the massive structure.
Curved timber beams rest on reinforced concrete bases while a steel framework acts as a primary support for the 400-ton roof structure. It took a further 500 tons of reinforced steel to construct the pool area, which is split into three by booms which can be hydraulically raised to cordon off different areas. In addition the pool depth can be altered at each end by moving the floor. It can be raised in minutes to a shallow depth for toddlers or lowered to its maximum for a safe diving depth. The main pool has five diving boards, the highest at five metres, as well as a speedy 63-metre-long water flume and children's play area. Other facilities include a 70-station gym, dance studio, sauna, steam-room, hot tub, café and crèche.
The building proved a great inspiration to the students embarking on 'Construction in the Built Environment,' one of two diplomas being rolled out at Brooke Weston next academic year. Year 10 students will devote a whole day each week to the course and, as well as traditional classroom tasks, they will also learn practical skills and undertake at least 10 days of relevant work experience.
The CBE Diploma is worth the equivalent of seven GCSEs and will provide a firm foundation for students who wish to pursue a career in the construction, planning or design industries. Topics include town planning, building regulations, different construction methods, health and safety and environmental issues. Brooke Weston has just taken delivery of the latest computer-aided-design software so students can learn the program which is used throughout the industry. As well as producing CAD designs, the 3D-Max software can also be used for animations.
Brooke Weston has teamed up with professionals at Tresham College to deliver the seven-module curriculum so students will go to their Corby campus to master practical skills such as bricklaying, in a purpose-built professional environment. Teacher Mr Browne from Brooke Weston, and Georgina Burton, curriculum leader for construction at Tresham, both accompanied the students on the pool tour.
Ms Burton said; 'We're going to teach the students about the breadth of construction right from the planning through to construction and actually managing a building through its future use, right through to the demolition and reuse of a site. Companies need individuals who are creative, independent thinkers, who can come up with their own ideas and solutions. The teaching on the diploma will encourage these students to think through problems. We'll give them scenarios, get them to come up with their own solutions and design ideas which should make them a much more useful prospect in the industry in the future. They seem really keen and enthusiastic and I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with them.'