Well we are back in Mae Sot continuing the construction of Moving School 002 in Mae Ramat on the Thai/Burma border. After completing the foundations in April, we were now ready to start lifting the steel frame structure of the school classrooms into place.
All the steel required for Moving School 002 fitted easily onto one truck and was then transported from the Ironwood workshop to the school site in Mae Ramat. The first task on site was to check the level across the whole structure using a water level, the same technique as used previously on the first Moving School.
Soon after the truck was unloaded, the Ironwood team and Building Trust began setting out the steel frames on site and bolting the sections together.
When the structure was bolted together the frames were then simply lifted above the foundation posts and bolted into place at the correct height. The frames are then locked in together across the whole structure with floor joists and roofing frame.
The next step will be to connect all floor joists into place and then attach Shera board to create the classroom flooring. Shera board is a cementitious wood board which we used on the first Moving School, it is very strong, durable and cleans easily so is great for the flooring of the classrooms. The roof for the school will arrive on site tomorrow and I look forward to sharing with you photos of the installation very soon.
After managing to put in the first foundation post at the end of last week, our determined and energetic volunteers worked through the weekend and managed to fix three further foundation posts on site. The team worked through heavy rain, attempting to remove water from the foundation holes before they filled up with new rain water. It was great to see their clear understanding of the tasks, each volunteer knew their role and worked together as a team to construct the foundation posts in a quick and efficient manner.
It takes a great deal of patience and careful orientation to place the truck tyres into the foundation holes. The wires which can be seen in image above plot out the central line of the foundation post. It is very important that the wires remain in the correct place to ensure we have an accurate measurement across the school grid.
On the last day, many of the school students helped out the volunteers to carry gravel to the holes. It was great to see the kids excited about the school project and get involved in lending a hand on site.
We were very sad to loose nine of our volunteers on Tuesday, as they returned to Hong Kong for their Summer break. Ashley, Airi, Stephanie, Charity, Chung, David, Hin, Nicholas and Jim made an incredible impact on the school site and we are very grateful for the help they offered over the last month. Thankfully, Jim will remain with us for another month and our UK volunteers Claire, Ben and Mark will continue to help out over the next week.
As we awaited recruitment of new volunteers to assist with the foundation posts and with a day of continuous heavy rain the remaining volunteers spent Wednesday at the Global Neighbors workshop. The workshop team had managed to drill all the required holes in the steel and cut to the correct dimensions to allow us to assemble the first classroom module. With great excitement the team assembled the steel construction simply slotting the steel plates in place and bolting together.
It was very exciting to see the pieces come together and gain a real understanding of the size and scale of one school classroom module. It was also very reassuring to know that in no time at all the unit was assembled.
We had the great opportunity to finally see how the bamboo wall panels which the G’yaw G’yaw workers made a few weeks ago would sit inside the steel frame. The frame slotted inside the frame perfectly and the combination of the dark metal steel frame looked fantastic next to the natural bamboo wall panel. We cannot wait to see how one fully assembled unit with full wall panels, flooring and roof will look very soon.
Now that we have tested the first module we can confirm all dimensions with the workshop and order steel for the ten classroom modules. Over the next few weeks the apprentices at the workshop will be plotting, marking out and drilling many holes to create the final steel frame structure. The steel will be brought to the school and assembled on site. In the meantime, there is lots of painting to be done!