Year nine students at The Boulevard Academy had a creative morning to celebrate the commencement of steelworks to their new school extension. 

Sewell Construction has been appointed by Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd to deliver the project as part of Hull City Council’s £50 million investment into the City’s schools.  

The site team have been working alongside Mark Swallow, a Senior Lecturer in Construction Project Management at Sheffield Hallam University, to test the use of virtual reality applications, to facilitate discussion around safety and logistics during site inductions and safety workshops. 

Mark Swallow was invited to the Boulevard site to engage with the students and give a short presentation regarding ‘Digital Construction.’ 

He said; “Digital technology continues to evolve, and these advancements are shown in the way it’s becoming integrated into our everyday lives. 

 “I was delighted to be invited to The Boulevard Academy to present a wide range of exciting careers within the construction industry in an innovate way to the students and give an overview of how digital technologies can be adopted in different ways.  

 “Using the virtual reality application, I created a visual of what the new extension is going to look like. Through these sessions, the students have been able to “walk-through” their new school. It’s certainly raised a bit of excitement!”  

The Boulevard Academy famously occupies the site of Hull FCs former Boulevard Ground, and so it was only fitting for the VR session to culminate in Hull FC players, Charlie Severs and Davey Litten, surprising the students and performing a “steel kick” over the bars to mark the occasion. 

Janice Mitchell, CEO and Principal of Boulevard Academy said:   

“The children loved the VR session and doing something quite unique to mark such an exciting milestone on the new build of our growing school. Then to go out and watch the Hull FC players in action was just the cherry on top. The open engagement with Sewell Construction, Hull Esteem and Hull City Council really adds another level to the construction period. 

“We’re committed to providing our students with an outstanding, well-rounded education to give them the platform for success, and its activities like this which give a different approach to the student’s curriculum, offers new career opportunities and provides an insight into a sector students may not have considered up until this point. It just shows the vastness of the construction industry, the roles available, and the creativity that goes into projects of this scale. 

“As we’ve reached this milestone, it’s been great to come together to pay homage to the school’s history, and be part of its innovative future, moving onto the next chapter for The Boulevard Academy.”  

The £6 million three-storey extension will increase capacity of the school by 300, taking the total to 900 pupil places, not only in response to growing demand, but also enabling it to offer a range of new courses from September 2022. 

Gavin Barley, General Manager of Hull Esteem said:  

“It’s great to be working alongside our local and trusted supply chain partners once again.  

“Hull Esteem and the project team from Hull City Council are so pleased with Sewell Construction’s approach to produce more innovative ways to engage with the school. The VR session and ‘Steel kick’ went down well, we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next! 

“The expansion of The Boulevard Academy is going to open up so many opportunities for pupils, allowing the school to widen its curriculum and offer a variety of brand-new courses. We wanted to mirror this in our engagement approach throughout the project, and this was a great way to kick things off!” 

The major expansion will include new dedicated rooms for food technology and textiles, meaning Boulevard will be able to offer courses in these subjects for the first time. There will be an additional multi-use games area, and an activity studio added to the site, improving the outdoor exercise spaces for students, as well as enhancing the PE provision.  

Two specialist music rooms with four new practice areas for lessons and rehearsals will also be introduced, whilst improvements to computer science facilities will add two extra suites and additional classrooms.