Project to build new school is on schedule

A recent picture of the Darras Hall Primary School new build being constructed on the school site. It is in the opposite corner to the current building.
A recent picture of the Darras Hall Primary School new build being constructed on the school site. It is in the opposite corner to the current building.

Construction is making good progress at Darras Hall Primary School.

This is the final school of seven to be re-developed by architectural practice Howarth Litchfield for Northumberland County Council as part of the switch to a two-tier system for most of the schools in the Ponteland area.

Phase one of the new build project is set to be complete in readiness for the next school year in September.

The second phase will involve the demolition of half of the existing school so that the creation of the playing fields and multi-use games areas can begin.

The remaining half of the Darras Hall school will then be planned for demolition in 2020. Galliford Try is the principal construction contractor for the project.

The appointment by Faithful and Gould, the council’s project managers, for Howarth Litchfield also included the contract to provide both architectural and interior design works for the six other schools.

It was tasked to carry out extending, remodelling and refurbishing services to accommodate Year 5 and Year 6 pupils in the existing first school and nursery areas and Year 3 children at the school previously called Richard Coates CofE Middle School.

Works at Belsay, Heddon St Andrew’s CofE, Ponteland, Stamfordham and Whalton CofE Primary Schools and Richard Coates CofE School have now concluded.

Howarth Litchfield’s director leading the projects, Elisa Berry, said: “As a result of our extensive experience in the education sector, we have been able to create innovative solutions that will greatly improve the schools.

“Our works have made them fit for purpose so that they function more efficiently as they cater for an increase in pupil numbers, while at the same time providing the local authority with value for money.”

Two of the schools, Stamfordham and Heddon St Andrew’s, feature living walls that replaced some of the existing habitat.

In addition, the classroom environments and building layouts, which are both so important to the learning experience, have been greatly enhanced to improve student flow and aid safeguarding.

Coun Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at the county council said: “Providing an excellent learning environment and helping to deliver the best possible education for children across Northumberland is a priority for us.

“The development at Darras Hall Primary will allow us to provide a fresh and modern learning space for pupils to thrive in for many years to come.”