I realise I haven’t written this blog for a while. I wanted to wait until there was some exciting progress, but I guess in truth there has been so much exciting progress (over a fairly prolonged period), I’ve kind of become used to it. The most exciting thing, which you’ll have seen if you’ve driven past, is our Siberian Larch wood clad exterior.
We are getting there – slowly but surely. We are taking time to make informed decisions on the things that are important, and at the same time trying not to sweat the small stuff.
One of the major hold ups has been our choice of heating system. This is one of the areas that I have been adamant to get right. The studio is different from many other buildings in that we don’t really want a regulated heat throughout the building all the time. I want to have it hot and then cold as and when needed, and in different parts of the building at the same time. This has proved challenging to get right.
Over the years I have been teaching in various venues (all of which are totally suitable for their main purpose but perhaps, for various reasons, not always ideal for my purpose) we have encountered being too hot and too cold. Being too cold in a morning Chair Yoga class is pretty miserable. I’ve had classes where people have had to keep their jackets on and wear blankets whilst stretching in their chairs!
Being too hot is another one… yes our cardio / fitness / conditioning classes are obviously going to get rather hot and sweaty, but when you can’t get any cool air it can feel pretty unpleasant! One of the long lasting memories I have of our time doing Zumba in the Legion is the smell of Chinese Takeaway through the fire exit door which we kept open for fresh air. One of the scariest memories was the time (s) the Alsatian guard dog wandered in to see what was going on!
I’ve been so lucky to find a space at the Golf Club where I’ve been able to run my business for the past 6 years, which has met my needs and allowed me to grow my classes. So much so that we’ve outgrown this space. But I’m forever gratefulfor my time there, and have so many fond memories of the people and classes I’ve taught at this space, and the lessons I’ve learned in running a studio. And I feel blessed to have this experience, and my experience of working at spaces around the island, to pull on when making these hard decisions.
The heating of the studio has definitely been the single biggest challenge we’ve had so far, and we’re still not there! We’ve gone through a few different heating options and none have been quite right. We’d initially opted for air source underfloor heating, however that turned out to incompatible with the sprung floors (another no compromise area).
Being a new build, the studios are pretty well insulated. We’ve also got veluxes up high on our vaulted ceiling, and over the summer (yes, even a Hebridean summer), I started to worry that our issue is going to be being too warm rather than too cold.
We’ve been through a few options in between but we’re now looking at air conditioning for heating and cooling. However it turns out that the increased electricity usage could be sending us into 3 phase power supply and possibly necessitating an update of the transformer and connection (Please excuse me whilst I bumble around some technical jargon I don’t really understand – I spent about a week saying we needed a 3 pronged plug for our Transporter).
The real challenge here (notice use of the word “challenge” rather than “problem”) is that we don’t know how much work this will involve, and more importantly, how much it will cost. The procedure of finding out takes some time and this is potentially putting a delay on the whole project. Did I mention I’m out of my current space by end of November!? Stress much?
Sharing my woes with one of our classes the other night (I’m pretty sure people will stop asking soon as they always get such a long convoluted answer ending with a weary “what do you think I should do?”) we broke it down a bit further.
The first reaction was, Open the windows, use fans, just get on with finishing the project.
We considered this for a while, but it just didn’t sit right.
And then I remembered all the business plans, mission statements and strategies at the beginning of this process. Essentially, why am I creating this space? Why have we received the support for it we’ve received so far, and why do I believe in this project so much?
It comes back to creating a space that is fit for purpose. An actual dance studio that can be set at the correct temperature to ensure dancers have the best (and safest) experience. Along with flooring, the heating is top priority. Our Restorative Yoga classes (where we lie around on bolsters feeling delish) will be warm and cosy. Our sweaty Zumba classes will be fresh and ventilated. Our ballet classes will be coming in and starting their barre work in a temperature that allows them to warm up their muscles safely.
So I can’t compromise on this. Just as I couldn’t compromise on the sprung floor. These 2 items are at the heart of what we’re offering, and yes a couple of storage heaters and a few fans might do the job, but I know it wouldn’t be ringing true to my original vision (and also wouldn’t get through Building Control).
So that’s where we’re at. There have been more than a few sleepless nights, and I’m sure there will be a few more, but it will be worth it.
I bet you’ll wish you never asked….