Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The Deptford Lounge opened its doors to the public today and Tidemill Primary school began a new term in brand new facilities. The excited screams of the children could be heard two streets away as they explored their fantastic new playground, whilst students of further education settled down to study quietly in the new library.
The two computer suites (including Apples Macs) were also almost fully occupied and coffee and snacks were being served from a kiosk in the main area. The children's library area is substantial (we wonder how noise will be kept to a minimum when that is fully utilised since it does not appear to be screened off).
Public access to much of the building is restricted. We joined founding members of the New Cross People's Library on a tour upstairs with Lounge staff, where we saw spacious meeting rooms and got a glimpse of the top floor open air ballcourt. We were unable to see the new hall (with its large picture window opening out onto Giffin Square) and the studio space on the first floor since these areas are to be used by the school until 4.30pm every weekday.
A view of the old Tidemill School from one of the meeting rooms. With the prison-like outer-casing of the building blocking some daylight, the room was illuminated by sensor operated indoor lighting.
A Lounge staff member shows ex-Crossfields residents and founding members of New Cross People's Library, Kath Dunbar and Jill Hart, a quick view of the ballcourt on the top floor.
The hall, studio space and meeting rooms are for hire at times when the school is not using them, as are the ballcourt, a jamming suite, a food technology suite, and a dining hall and kitchen (that lead out onto a generous roof terrace). Meeting room hire fees start from £18 an hour, whilst the main hall has a capacity of 190 people and costs £60 per hour. 320 people can be accommodated in the hall and studio combined at a fee of £100. Other hire fees can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a leaflet at the library.
The school, we are assured, is being charged a "fair rent" for its use of this brand new community facility, now that it is an Academy. The kitchen appeared to be not up and running today however – we spied the children being served sandwiches and fruit.
The Deptford Lounge is expected to be officially opened in February by which time it is hoped that the new Giffin Square will be completed (along with a levelling of the tarmac on the road that surrounds it).
Meanwhile, the Lounge will now be open every day except bank holidays from 7am-10pm Monday to Friday and 7am-7pm on Saturdays & Sundays.
Drawing by PTE Architects