Friday, 26 June 2009

Not the Last Post

Anyone who's looked in on the site since October 2008 will have spotted... well, absolutely nothing. I had been doing so well, making a point of blogging regularly. I'd even been getting visitors and comments, so what happened?

In one of my last posts I made reference to the fact that we still hadn't reached financial close. Financial close finally happened in November, almost a year after the first projected date. Getting there was tough and bad-tempered, a process complicated by the fact that as well as climbing a paperwork mountain, we were also trying to do things that would usually happen post-FC, but that couldn't wait because building work was well under way. I cannot start to tell you the hours spent on small power, windows, room layouts, key strategies and CCTV, to mention just a few things. This blog is something I do out of hours, and the thought of coming home and writing about something that was frying my brain during the working day was not something I relished, so it kind of ground to a halt. And then someone put a big fat BSF blog button on the new SNS website, so I took the less than subtle hint and here we are.

So, what's happened since my last post? The simple answer is lots. The ever rolling cast of people involved in BSF continues to roll, although it seems to have stabilised of late. Luckily some key characters have remained in place throughout and an honourable mention must go to the builders & architects. In May our Premises Team moved over to the new company, a shift that went suprisingly well even for the staff involved. In lots of ways it has lightened my load as I was reponsible for many of the things that have been transferred over, and the woman who runs the help desk (apparently it's her on her own in a huge barn built with future expansion in mind!) is genuinely very helpful.

Most importantly the first phase of building is almost complete, and plans are well under way for an enormous move in July. Virtually every space moves either into the new area of the building, or out into temporary accommodation ready for the next phase. The builders are throwing tradesfolk (metaphorically) at the site to get it completed in time. Furniture and ICT have been ordered and it's just a nail biting wait to see whether we got it right. Yesterday we started training for the new ICT network. ICT remains an area we are still not entirely at ease with. It would be unfair to say that access to ICT won't widen in September, but the pot of money doesn't really seem to have stretched that far and there are aspects of the solution that we are still not happy with or unclear about. On the plus side, we will be retaining our Network Manager, which we hadn't expected, and working with RM has become a much more positive experience since contracts were signed.

I'm really looking forward to getting in to the new block. Morale amongst staff has been pretty low this year, and I hope that moving in will make them feel it was all worth it. I took the student design group around a couple of weeks ago, and they were really excited. They obviously enjoyed seeing the things they had worked on, but little things like running between classrooms to hear the difference acoustic panels makes also seemed to give them great pleasure. And ultimately they're the ones we're doing this all for.