Fire-Hit School Helped By Olympic Building

A Dorset school's creative arts centre, destroyed by fire over the Christmas holiday, will be up and running again next month thanks to a temporary structure used for the Olympics.

Teachers feared the devastating blaze which gutted the Creative Arts block at Lytchett Minster Upper School, near Poole, would cause massive disruption to hundreds of pupils scheduled to sit examinations in the summer.

However, De Boer's emergency response team - working in conjunction with insurers Zurich and McLarens Loss Adjusters - has designed a state-of-the-art 3,300 square metre temporary facility that will take just six weeks to erect.

On February the 13th, just ten days after arriving on site, the roof of the giant Delta structure was being hoisted into place by four cranes, as the shell of the temporary performing arts centre nears completion.

Now the internal fit out will start including flooring, walling, suspended ceilings, lighting, electrics, and sophisticated acoustics systems. A 70-strong team of De Boer crew are working 24/7 to ensure the project is completed on time.

The Delta structure, which is around the same size as a football pitch, was part of the temporary facilities supplied to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and was used as the athletes' dining hall. At Lytchett Minster, the structure will house:

* A 420-seater theatre with stage and lighting gallery
* Two drama classrooms
* Five art classrooms
* Three music classrooms and a recording studio
* Photography classroom and studio
* Offices, toilets, kitchen and storage areas.
A 100 square metre Acropolis structure will adjoin the building to form a students' social area.

Stuart Clark, Headmaster of Lytchett Minster School, said:

"The consequences of the fire were extremely serious. The loss of our Creative Arts block came at a time when our pupils needed the facility to complete their controlled assessments, as part of the course work ahead of their examinations in May.

"However, De Boer has provided us with a solution where the creative arts centre can be up and running again in March, in time for the assessments to be conducted, and for pupils to sit their examinations.

"I have been tremendously impressed by De Boer who have been outstanding - not only in terms of the quality of their systems but also how quickly they understood our project, both from a technical and educational prospective.

"It's not only their systems which are so impressive but also the way in which their creative and technical people have applied themselves to deliver such a swift response."

Cllr Toni Coombs, Dorset County Council's cabinet member for children's services, said:

"Our priority is to get things back to normal as soon as possible for the pupils, so we are delighted that work on site is progressing so well.

"To see such an enormous and complex structure being put together so quickly is amazing, and I look forward to seeing the finished product."

The accommodation at Lytchett Minster is likely to be on site for around 18 months enabling the school to resume its normal timetable while a new permanent Creative Arts block is rebuilt.

The fire on December 27th 2012 is believed to have been caused when lightning struck the roof of the building, destroying equipment, coursework and teaching records on the first floor.