College students viewed the first phases of construction at the new Flitwick Leisure Centre when they used the development as a live case study in site management.
Both Central Bedfordshire Council and construction group SDC have been promoting the project by giving the next generation of building professionals a valuable insight into the creation of the major new facility, through to its completion in early 2016.
In December last year, the Bedford College Level 3 Technical and Professional Construction students were given a presentation and workshop by Central Bedfordshire Council Planning Case Officer Dee Walker, and this month was their first chance to tour the building site after work begun in November last year.
SDC Construction Manager Paddy Leslie guided the students through the foundation works and the Sports Hall area where the structural steelwork is beginning to taking shape. The piling to support the base of what will be the eight-lane 25-metre swimming pool has also been installed and the car park works have made good progress, with the roadways being formed and stoned up ready for tarmac.
“We went to Center Parcs last year but something like a leisure centre does not come up very often,” said Claire Cartwright, Senior Lecturer in Construction at Bedford College, adding: “Learning about construction has to be supported by trips where students can actually see the things they have been learning about in the classroom, get a feel for the site, all the related issues and talk to the site managers about their thought processes. You cannot get that from a book.
“As these students are with the college for two years we are hoping to see the Flitwick Leisure Centre development right the way through to completion. Council staff had already provided them with a great insight into the planning stage. Paddy was excellent, walking the students around the site for the first time, imparting some advice and, hopefully, when the cladding is up he will welcome us back to look in the build. SDC and Central Bedfordshire Council have been so supportive and we really appreciate it.”
Paddy said: “It was good to walk the students around the site. Hopefully it gave them a good insight into the early stages of a major new project such as Flitwick Leisure Centre. SDC has signed up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme so it’s important for us to help encourage and educate students that will one day get to work on projects such as this.
“In terms of the build, the winter has been kind so we are making hay and I think the next time the students come to visit they’ll hopefully be impressed and get to learn some more.”
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “The visit of Bedford College students is a great example of partnership and co-operation between different organisations, in which the Flitwick Leisure Centre project is proving a benefit to the wider community even before it is completed. We take great pride in the fact that Bedford College have identified the development as a valuable live case study for their construction students and are delighted that SDC are able to work this into their schedule.
“It is clear that SDC are already making fantastic progress and it is now possible, with the work already completed, to envisage the size of the facility, while better understanding the scale of the project. It provides an early but tantalising glimpse of the magnificent facility that we know the new Flitwick Leisure Centre will be once it is opened to the public early in 2016.
“You will be able to keep up-to-date with the progress at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/flitwick.”