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NSC 17 June 17 erection in February. A cut and fill operation, to form a level base for the school building on this sloping site, was also under way at this time. Approximately 25,000m3 of overburden has been excavated from the site, with almost 13,000m3 of this spoil re-used. Sitting on concrete pad foundations, the steelwork erection programme has followed on behind the groundworks and earthmoving teams, with all of these trades working in a southerly direction from the lowest end of the site. In order to integrate the school to the sloping topography, two retaining walls have been constructed across the building’s footprint, approximately dividing the building into thirds. The walls form two steps, 3m and 5m-high respectively. Consequently, the 100m-long × 60m-wide building descends from three-storeys down to one storey at the southern end. Most of the classrooms, as well as the school’s main entrance, are located within the three-storey northern end of the building. Because of their different uses, many of the classrooms are of varying sizes. This has resulted in an irregular structural grid and the need for numerous transfer beams to support the irregularly spaced columns. Overall the school building has a composite design with steelwork supporting metal decking with a concrete topping. Bracing, located in the roof and in stairwells, provides the frame with its stability. Dominating the central area of the school, the amphitheatre and its adjacent feature staircase are the most complex part of the project’s steelwork. As well offering access to all of the school’s floors, the staircase is 20m-wide and incorporates terraced seating. A series of facetted rakers forms the curved shape of the terrace as it wraps around a portion of the performance space. Supporting the staircase is a series of girders each weighing in excess of 4t. As well as erecting the steelwork and installing the metal decking, Hescott Engineering also lifted in the precast terracing units. According to Hescott’s Business Development Manager John Dowds, a total of 37 crane lifts were needed to install the precast units. Three 20m-long × 3.5m-deep trusses form the amphitheatre’s open-plan columnfree space. One of these trusses is positioned at the north end of the space, where the building steps up from two storeys to three. The other two trusses tie into the first truss and span southwards creating the open void. Looking at the school from the outside the most striking feature will be the roof. Intended to be a nod to the surrounding countryside, the roof slopes down from the three-storey element towards the single storey area, incorporating three different pitches. A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The modern, high-quality school will be a fantastic resource for local young people, providing an ideal learning environment for them to achieve their full potential. This investment will help ensure that West Lothian continues to have one of the best school estates in Scotland.” Education The three-storey teaching block Terraced seating for the amphitheatre A number of varying floor levels have resulted in a complex steel design


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