“Better late than never” is the message from the Hucknall headteacher whose school is counting down until their rebirth as Beardall Fields Primary at their new site off Papplewick Lane.
The Beardall Street School community will be swapping their Victorian ‘no longer fit for purpose’ facility for a long-waited £5million state-of-the-art school which will be ready to welcome them all in September.
Representatives from Nottinghamshire County Council, children, teachers and construction workers gathered at the site on Monday to get a behind-the-scenes look into the future of education as well as to lay a date stone to mark the new build.
“More space inside and out is what we are all looking forward to most,” said headteacher Katherine Collins. “We have been making the most of the old school, which is special to us, however the move is well overdue but better late than never.”
Built in 1872, the ageing facilities at the existing school have made life difficult for everybody as they tried to deliver and receive a 21st century education in a 19th century building.
Not only is it compromising delivery of the full curriculum but it is unable to meet increasing demand for places.
Despite this the school has managed to achieve a recent Good Ofsted rating and made the most of what they have but now they are looking to the future and all their new school has to offer.
“I can’t wait for the football fields and the bigger playground,” said pupil and school council representative, Ethan Stevenson, who was catching up with the construction progress in this latest site visit.
“We have a very small classroom at the moment but our new one will be really big,” added nine-year-old Sienna Woolbridge.
Meanwhile Year 4 pupil, Teige Goulding, is looking forward to having a school library. “And reading lots of new books,” he said.
The new site is adjacent to the school’s existing playing field close to Papplewick Lane, which children currently have to walk a mile to for many PE lessons.
Hucknall county councillor Alice Grice was one of the guests at the stone laying ceremony.
“It is an honour to be here today on this momentous occasion,” said Coun Grice. “It will present a lot of opportunities with everything the current children and staff will need and the school will be here a long time after these children have grown up.”
The larger building will initially allow an increase in school capacity from 210 to 315 places, plus retention of the existing 26 nursery places.
The school has been built to easily allow an expansion in the next few years. If, as expected, there is further demand for extra capacity due to nearby housing development, Additional classrooms can be added which will increase capacity to 420 places.
The new school building has been designed by Nottinghamshire County Council’s in-house property team, who are also overseeing construction in partnership with main contractor, Kier.
“We are on target and on budget,” said Kier contracts manager, Dean Cobley, who has been working with NCC project architect, David Eberlin, to deliver his vision. “It’s been important and wonderful to have the children’s involvement right from the start to buy into what they are getting.
“It’s been a pleasure to work on.”
Coun David Kirkham, chairman of finance and property committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, added his delight as the project nears completion: “Many people in Hucknall will have fond memories of the Beardall Street School, but it now falls short of modern requirements and is too small for the increasing demand for school places in Hucknall.
“It is clear from looking at the site and from the artist’s impressions that the new school will be a fantastic facility that children, parents, staff and the wider community can be extremely proud of.
“Children and staff should be congratulated for performing so well in spite of the constraints at the current school.
“Like them, I am really excited for the new school opening in September and look forward to the school performing even better with more space, and better IT, play and dining facilities.”
The new school has been laid out to comply with the latest guidance from the Department of Education on the best learning environment.
Extensive use of natural light not only through windows but over 40 roof lights to reduce reliance on artificial lighting
A user-controlled natural ventilation system using windows and rooflights, with visual CO2 monitors
Cycle facilities to encourage cycling to school by staff and children
Flexible green-space for potential use as a garden space and outdoor classroom
Extensive use of low maintenance and recyclable materials in the construction
Nottinghamshire County Council is investing over £30m on new school buildings to create 1,900 extra school places across the county in 2013 and 2014.