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!
(written 2014-10-06, updated 2014-10-07)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesZ405 - Melksham Campus 
Campus - about the logos / way marks you have been choosing from - (2015-02-11) 
Melksham Community Campus - which of these potential signs do you like? - (2015-02-07) 
The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18) 
Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26) 
Art, Catering, Transport - Melksham Campus Elements - reaching local experts - (2013-03-19) 
How much parking should there be at Melksham Campus? - (2012-10-21) 
What a difference a year made - Melksham Campus - (2012-10-12) 
The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22) 
Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03) 
Low carbon and other environmental lessons for the Melksham Campus? - (2012-05-23) 
Abstraction - (2012-05-19) 
A walk around Melksham this morning. Can you place all of these? - (2012-05-17) 
Quintessentially English - scenes from our Wiltshire town - (2011-11-14) 
Melksham House / Melksham Campus - Seniors Input Sought - (2011-11-12) 
Melksham House - a community facility - (2011-10-31) 
Campus Shadow - a great responsibility - (2011-10-30) 
Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14) 
The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14) 
Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06) 
Between a rock and a hard place. - (2011-05-04) 
Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13) 
Campus - answer to business questions - (2011-04-01) 
Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31) 
Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26) 
Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
Some other Articles
Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisersPHP training - refreshed modern course, backed up by years of practical experienceMoving community rail support from amateur to professionalOfficially overcrowded in the first yearMelksham Campus - how is it going - October 2014Problem ... I want to print a series of numbered formsEven in the dark of night, the train comes bearing passengersWhat can you and I learn from online quizzes?Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache serverFour time target - good news. Four time prediction - poor forecasting.