It’s a big job developing a brand new, state-of-the-art science and discovery centre, which is why we’ve partnered with some very clever people to support us in making our vision a reality.
Eureka! Science + Discovery will set up home on the banks of the River Mersey facing the iconic Three Graces and the Liverpool skyline.
The building has been many things, a bus station, a parking garage, the Seacombe Ferry terminal, and the well-known Spaceport visitor attraction. Transforming this building so that it’s fit for purpose for our big (and very brilliant plans) is a job we wouldn’t entrust to just anyone!
We’re delighted to work with construction specialist, Seddon, on the initial building works of our project. Their team has been hard at work on-site since June 2021, transforming the space and knocking down walls (literally!) to help us in creating our vision for Merseyside’s newest attraction.
We sat down with Relationships Manager, Vikki Thomas, who has been involved in the project since it originally went out to tender in late 2019, to talk to her about Seddon’s involvement in the development of Eureka! Science + Discovery…
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
A: My name is Vikki Thomas and I’m a Relationship Manager at Bolton-based construction company, Seddon, as part of the property services preconstruction team.
I’m responsible for looking after all our relationships with our stakeholders and clients. I work closely with our project teams, ensuring that everything is running as smoothly as possible; this also means I’m able to visit the Eureka! Science + Discovery site and see the team once a month, which I love.
At the beginning of Seddon’s Eureka! journey, I was in a different role as a Bid Submission Coordinator. In this role, I worked on developing the bid for Seddon to be named as the construction partner for the new visitor attraction. It’s exciting to have been involved in the project from the very start.
Q: How did you get involved in the Eureka! Science + Discovery project?
A: When we saw the opportunity to work on Merseyside’s newest attraction, we immediately knew we wanted to put ourselves forward for the project.
Traditionally, many people don’t think of the construction as being particularly creative but developing the tender document for this project was certainly an opportunity to get creative.
I visited Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax with our Director of Preconstruction, Katie Harris, and Katie’s two daughters to get a feel for the brand and how young people can learn through interactive and engaging experiences.
We used this visit to inform our tender document, reflecting some of the zones from the museum within the document, theming the various pages and sections with different textures throughout.
Q: What made the team at Seddon want to get involved in the project?
A: The base build at Eureka! Science + Discovery is the Property Services team’s first major project outside Greater Manchester and our very first in Merseyside.
We’re keen to expand our remit within the Northwest, and what better way to kick that off than by supporting the development of an innovative new visitor attraction for the region?!
More than this, we were also drawn in by the wider motivations of Eureka! Science + Discovery and its commitment to bridging the STEM skills gap among young people.
Our company value is that “People make places” and this couldn’t ring truer for Eureka! Science + Discovery, whose work will go a long way in helping young people in Merseyside and beyond to learn more about the various career pathways available to them, as well as supporting them in learning more about key STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
At Seddon, we have our own Environmental Social & Governance (ES&G) commitments, so getting involved in projects that are not only new and exciting for us as a company, but that also allows us to give something back and help change the world around us are exactly where we want to be operating.
Q: What has been Seddon’s involvement in the project so far?
A: Seddon is responsible for the initial construction and enabling works of the project, including the restoration of some of the windows that had been blocked up to create the Spaceport planetarium. We’ve also been hard at work making some structural changes to the building, with support from our architecture partners, K2.
Since arriving on site in June 2021, we’ve knocked down partition walls, removed the black paint from the windows to let the light back in (which has transformed the space) and fitting out the mechanical and electrical works using our in-house team.
As with any construction project, we have also had to be adaptable to new challenges and we’ve worked closely with both K2 Architects and the Eureka! Science + Discovery team to overcome these as efficiently as possible.
We’ll be on site until Spring 2022 ensuring that, structurally, the building is prepped and ready to become one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions – we’re really excited to see the final product.
Q: What has been the best part about getting stuck into the development of Eureka! Science + Discovery?
A: For us, getting involved in a project in Merseyside has been fantastic, and it’s been great to work in close collaboration with local, Merseyside-based partners; both new and existing.
We’ve established a positive working relationship with K2 Architects who we’ve never worked with before, and we’ve also worked with Liverpool-based structural engineering firm, Sutcliffe, with whom we’ve worked on several projects previously.
We know that the concept for Eureka! Science + Discovery has been developed in partnership with young people from the local area through their co-creation initiative, but it’s also been built with support from some fantastic, local small businesses including Birkenhead window supplier, K2 Aluminium, who are just down the road from the attraction.
Q: What are you looking forward to when the attraction opens?
A: I am so excited to see the transformation of the space from start to finish. Seddon is heavily involved in preparing the building for what’s to come, but it will be incredible to see it transform into an interactive science and discovery centre.
It will also be fantastic to see an attraction that will play such a crucial role in bridging the STEM skills gap for the region; knowing that Seddon and myself played our part in creating such an important space is a really exciting prospect.
We’ll continue to share updates on how our lovely partners are helping us in creating Eureka! Science + Discovery…stay tuned!