Topping out ceremony marks first stage of completion at Nene Park Academy

Celebrations will take place on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at 1.00pm as Nene Park Academy’s new building reaches a major milestone. Officials from Peterborough City Council and Kier will join staff and students at the city Academy, based in Orton Longueville, for the development’s ‘Topping Out’ ceremony.

The ‘Topping Out’ ceremony marks the completion of the first main stage of the £14.25 million new building development. The milestone signifies that the structure of the new building has been completed and that the building is now water tight. This will allow for internal design and exterior modelling of the building to begin.

When completed in July 2013, the new Academy building will provide a state-of-the-art educational environment extending over 6564sqm.

Over the past two years the Academy, previously known as Orton Longueville School, has been transformed and has seen its exam results increase from 34 per cent to 49 per cent (5 or more A*-C grades including English and maths).

Mark Woods, Principal of Nene Park Academy, has been thrilled with the new school development and is looking forward to another important milestone in the Academy’s journey: “The ‘Topping Out’ ceremony will be a great chance to celebrate how far we have come, and motivate us to continue this over the coming years.

“We have been lucky enough to receive an excellent refurbishment at the beginning of last September and we are now eagerly awaiting the brand new building.

“The new development has been designed by teachers every step of the way to maximise the learning potential, as well as incorporating the latest technology and facilities.”

The ritual of Topping Out is an ancient custom that commemorates the safe and successful attainment of the highest point in a building’s construction. The participants in the ceremony sign the final steel beam and a ceremonial fir tree is planted at the building’s highest point. The building is then toasted with locally brewed beer, which will be provided by The Star Brewing Company in Market Deeping. The tree will eventually be planted in the grounds of the new school.

Councillor John Holdich, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and University for Peterborough City Council, said: “Nene Park Academy has been a part of the city for a number of decades and was therefore in need of investment.

“In the past ten years we have rebuilt and refurbished every secondary school in the city. The money we are investing in Nene Park Academy is the final phase of this commitment.

“Across all of our schools, we have spent in the region of £190 million on improving buildings and facilities in the last five years.

“The design plans for the Academy are really exciting with the inclusion of an impressive grassed amphitheatre at the front of the brand new academy building.

“We want to offer young people a first class education in modern buildings to give them the best possible start in life and Nene Park Academy is a great example of this.”

Sean Yeo, Director of Kier, “We are delighted to have reached this phase of completion successfully and look forward to completing the next phase of the project moving into the New Year.

“The successful completion of this phase of the project is a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration between the Academy stakeholders, Peterborough City Council and the Kier team.”