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Steiner Academy tops out with the ‘original’ tiles

A topping out ceremony was held to celebrate reaching the highest point of construction of the new £6m Steiner Academy in Frome, on Friday 21st November. 

The ceremony had particular significance because the tiles used have been carefully preserved from the original building.

One thousand tiles were saved and each one is individually franked with the Bridgwater Trading Company stamp. As part of the ceremony the guests, who included the Mayor of Frome, cllr Peter Macfadyen and students from the school, each signed one of the tiles which was then placed on the roof.

The site team had taken extreme care in looking after the tiles, understanding the importance of the local heritage. They had once formed part of the original hospital building and date back to the late 1800’s.

The academy offers a ‘through to 16’ Steiner education and the new site will include high spec. art and craft workshop facilities, which the school hopes to offer for wider community use. There will be 20 classrooms and six early years settings, along with a multi-purpose hall and amphitheatre space. When full, the school will have over 630 pupils and students on roll.

Peter Macfadyen said, “Victoria Hospital has many memories for the people of Frome – mine are of my children being born here.  I’m delighted to see these buildings reused in such an exciting and constructive way, with the addition of fantastic new facilities which Steiner envisage being used by the wider community alongside their own pupils as the school develops.

“There were always going to be concerns about this school coming to this site – but I am sure the quality of education provided, alongside nearly 100 full time jobs, will enable these buildings and this school to become a really valuable part of Frome life.”

Trevor Mepham, principal of the academy said, “We have been living cheek by jowl with the site team since the beginning of September, so we have had front row seats watching these buildings grow and change.

“Through a mixture of refurbishment and new build, we are in the fortunate  position of being able to restore and refresh a cherished part of Frome, while creating new elements and facilities for many children and families, a number of who were born here and some of whom remember giving birth here.

“A transition from a hospital to a school has a certain continuity or resonance about it, and we look forward to the spring when we step into a new period of life and learning.”

David Snell, Kier Construction director, Bristol said, “It is wonderful to see the original tiles being placed back on the roof and what a superb way to commemorate reaching this important milestone in the construction.

“This scheme is particularly close to the hearts of our site team as many of them are from the area and working with local people and sub-contractors is something Kier always strive to achieve.

“We very much hope that the local community will enjoy the new facilities as much as the students and teachers and look forward to seeing the doors open to the final phase next year.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the site team for all their hard work and in particular our project managers Rob James  and Spencer Cox, who attended the same school at St Dunstans, Glastonbury, its great to see school pals building a school together.”