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Northumberland to invest £57m in education and leisure

Faithful+Gould will lead on the combined schools and leisure complex in Northumberland

Posted by Lucinda Reid | April 25, 2017 | Facilities management

Faithful+Gould is playing a major role in a ground-breaking, combined schools and leisure complex in Ponteland, Northumberland.

Part of a £57m investment into education and leisure by the local authority, Faithful+Gould is acting as technical adviser to the council and has the additional roles of employer’s agent and quantity surveyor as well as overseeing health and safety on the project.

Northumberland County Council is undertaking a reorganisation of eight of the schools in the Ponteland area, looking to move from a three tier to a two tier system and the new combined school and leisure centre development will form a major part of the initiative. The eight schools are currently in a first, middle and high school educational structure and will be reorganised into a revised primary and secondary function and be combined with the leisure centre.

To cater for the changes, the current leisure centre will be demolished and replaced with a new build, along with integrated primary and secondary schools on the centre’s current site, combining three buildings that will exploit the efficiencies of a single structure while retaining the identities of the different facilities.

“This is not simply the case of a leisure centre being tagged on to the back of a school,” explained Lawrence Inkster, Director at Faithful+Gould. “It’s a great piece of flexible design and the project will benefit both the children and the wider community of Ponteland. There is also the added advantage of the efficiencies it will bring with the centre’s facilities more likely to be used by students during week days and the public at weekends and in the evenings.”

Community access to the leisure centre for local residents will be via the front of the building, while students access the centre from the side and the rear during the day. The new leisure centre will feature a swimming pool with an aqua play area, a 500 piece state of the art gymnasium, spinning studio and two 3G artificial pitches for football and rugby. It also has a space that will be a lecture theatre for the schools during the day and has the potential to be a community cinema in the evening.

Steven Mason, Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council added: “The investment into the schools and leisure facilities will provide a fresh and modern learning space for pupils, providing an excellent learning environment and helping to deliver the best possible education for children across Northumberland.”

The new Ponteland school and leisure complex will be completed in 2019. Willmott Dixon has been announced as the preferred bidder for the project and construction work is scheduled to start in late summer.

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