October 06, 2014

Melksham Campus - how is it going - October 2014

Last year, I was talking a lot about the Melksham Campus, with meetings most weeks, lots of community participation and a great deal of feedback to make sure that the look and feel, the transport and access, and the mix for various groups was all understood and agreed (or rather was compromised to make it the best as possible for anyone). But for the past few months, there hasn't been much news. Why has it gone quiet? Has it gone off the boil?

It's all going ahead .. it's just that we've been in different phases, and there's less consultation and less work for the community's "Shadow Community Operations Board" to be doing. Once the Melksham Area Board of Wiltshire Council gave the go-ahead, and the Cabinet of Wiltshire Council signed off on the plans, our architects had a lot of work to do with preliminary design, then with taking the Campus through planning and detailed design, and then the council shortlisted possible contractors for the build. Yes, there was a little SCOB involvement here, but only a little. At present, the shortlisted contarctors are writing their bids, which are due to be submitted within the next month, with a contract awarded fairly quickly thereafter.


The build should start in late February or March 2015, and Market Place works a month or two thereafter. The building handover with facilities up and in use by September 2016. At that point, previous facilities such as the Blue Pool will close, and the final phase - demloition and changing to a car park - will go ahead, with the final completion of such jobs early in 2017. The footpath across the site will re-open at the end of the main construction period on a slighy modified route, and as a cycle and foot path.

At Woolmore Farm, work should start in the next few weeks on the Rugby and Football clubs' new buildings and pitches - there's just one final piece of approval paperwork that's due within the next few days. The clubroom will be available as early as next April, pitches available 3 months later in good time for the 2015 / 2016 season for both clubs.

Looking beyond Melksham, other approved and on-the-way campuses are in Corsham, Calne, Cricklade, Salisbury and Tisbury. Although Melksham was the first to be started, others are now ahead of us - not a surprise as Melksham is the largest by a long way, being a similar scale project to all the work undertand at County Hall in Trowbridge over recent years - that shows how massive it is. Malmesbury - a much smaller project - is going to cabinet in November, and Chippenham, Trowbridge and Warminster will be moving forward soon too - under a different team as "Campus Plus" regeneration projects.

Some common branding for the Campuses is being specified, even though they're each supposedly unique to their own area - for example, a common pallette of colours is specified so that users of multiple campuses will know that (say) "Yellow is library". And, as ever, it remains a case of compromise and working together for the local inputs to be taken into appropriate consideration in contrast to the steamroller effect of a council team who has a whole series of these builds to do, and for whom it would clearly be much simpler if they could do the same thing in each place. For the next stage of the SCOB works, the SCOB is being provided with a series of templates "so that you don't have to re-invent the wheel" and there's certainly sense in much of that ... for us to learn from the experience already gained at Corsham, and at Salisbury which are both somewhat ahead of us.

Looking forward - what's on the SCOB's agenda?
• Immediately, we're looking at putting our ptogram together, specifying our way of working during the build, and working out how we work and relate to others such as the area board
• Followed closely by engagement with the community (to some extent I'm starting that with this post), working out our marketing and brnading approach, and communications
• And a little later we'll come on to setting up a volunteer system, transport, directions and signage, how the campus is run when it's opened (and indeed on prebooking it!) and events and activities - both in the run up to opening, and making sure it hits the ground busy and running when it opens.

I hope this update / report is of some interest and fills in some gaps towards the end of what's been a quiet period. You should be hearing much more campus music over coming months ... probably from other much more official and organised sources. Please do ask me any questions if you wish!

Posted by gje at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)
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October 05, 2014

Problem ... I want to print a series of numbered forms

Just occasionally, we come across problems that sound easy but end up looking like they need specialised software that's going to cost money to buy for a single use, before we evel look at the time to learn into it. One such problem has cropped up today in that I want to print out a series of sequence numbered forms for completion by people at an event (actually the event being on a train!)

Problem ... I want to print a series of numbered forms
will also provide methodology for
Problem ... I want to print a series of sheets with randomised information in some field(s)

Solution
... generate the form as a series of web pages using a PHP Counter
... use a meta refresh to step through the pages
... Add an request to print on load <body onload="window.print()">
... Set up Firefox to silently autoprint
   - visit about:config
   - confirm you know what you're doing ;-)
   - right click on options and select new
   - add in print.always_print_silent as a boolean
   - set it to true

Basically, we're using Javascript to automatically print, Firefox to print silently, HTML to generate the pages, with meta refresh to step through them, and PHP to increment our count.

Here's a sample PHP page that I used to test out this mechanism - it prints out five pages ...

  <?php
  $page = 1;
  if ($_REQUEST[page]) $page = $_REQUEST[page] + 1;
  ?>
  <html>
  <head>
  <?php if ($page < 5) { ?>
  <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10; url=?page=<?= $page ?>">
  <?php } ?>
  </head>
  <body onload="window.print()">
  Hello World - page <?= $page ?>
  </body>
  </html>

More about setting the Firefox option [here].

We teach PHP [course details] ...

Posted by gje at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
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