4 August 2010
Pupils at Witton Park High School in Blackburn have taken time out from their normal lessons to learn about ground investigation work by geo-environmental experts who are working on the school’s new site.
The new school is part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which Balfour Beatty is constructing with WYG providing consultancy expertise in civil and structural engineering, building services, environment and geo-environmental.
Balfour Beatty and its partners are committed to enriching the education of the pupils throughout the process and arranged for the geo-environmental specialists to offer the pupils some hands-on experience during the ground investigation work before construction starts on the new school.
The Year 7 pupils learnt about the history and geology of their school site with help from WYG’s geo-environmental experts Kathryn Ellis and Danielle Kobak, who talked through the site investigation process with the pupils and gave a presentation involving video footage of the drilling rigs and other equipment used to carry out the practical investigations on site.
Kathryn said: “After the presentation we took the pupils onto the playing fields where they completed a team exercise that enabled them to visualise the different soil and rock types underlying the site and what a 40m deep borehole would look like. The pupils then observed us taking ground gas and groundwater measurements from a monitoring well installed in the actual borehole.”
Danielle added: “The pupils were really interested in the work we had done and why it was important to the foundations; they showed their interest and understanding with a number of insightful questions.”
The new school will be built on the current site on Buncer Lane and construction is due to start in early 2011.
Christine Marshall, Head of Year 7 said: “It made a real change for the pupils to have outside experts come and take a lesson, especially one that was so applicable to them. Whilst they had fun and a practical session, they also engaged in geology, geography, history, science and mathematics.”
The session was such a success that engineering experts from WYG have since joined other pupils to teach them how to construct bridges using models.