London & South East

Demand Sparks Expansion Of Popular School

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Geared to providing extra pupil places in order to cope with increased demand, a project is underway to expand Somerhill Junior School in Somerhill Road, Brighton.

The project is being carried out for Brighton & Hove Council by main contractors Westridge Construction, with the council also acting as architects for the scheme.

The works include the extension and refurbishment of the school, as well as internal remodeling.

The project will provide a new secure reception area and a remodeled administration area, including a new head teacher’s office, an administration/bursar’s office and a community meeting space. The works will also provide additional and remodeled circulation space, a refurbished staff room, a modified kitchen, improved changing facilities and new disabled access to the first floor via a platform lift.

Further works include the construction of a first floor extension to provide four new classrooms, a shared activity space, two group rooms and toilets.

External works include hard and soft landscaping and the upgrading of access to the school.

The project is part of a larger scheme designed to accommodate larger numbers of children growing up in Hove over recent years. In another contract, Davigdor Infant School, which shares the site with Somerhill School, is also being expanded in a similar project.

Speaking of the project to expand both Somerhill Junior and Davigdor Infant School, Vanessa Brown (Brighton & Hove City Council Cabinet Member for Children & Young People) said: “The numbers of children growing up in the city has increased significantly and this has put pressure on many schools. This expansion aims to help ease that pressure and ensure that more local children go to their local schools.”

“We want to ensure children attend school with pre-school friends, parents don’t have to travel long distances and extended services offered by schools are tailored to meet the needs of the whole community.”

Following completion of the extension at Davigdor School, Headmaster Ged Cotton arranged a special opening of the new building.

Parents, teachers, pupils and the construction team gathered together to listen to the children sing songs and to watch Mark Williams (familiar to the children as Mr Weasley from the Harry Potter films) unveil the plaque.

The children also gave their views on the benefits that the extension had brought to the School.

Contractors Westridge Partnership was formed in 1988 by three of the current Directors.

Westridge Construction Ltd began trading in 1993 when it enjoyed a modest turnover of £78,000.

This was made up of a pub refurbishment and a couple of extensions. Since that time it has grown rapidly, so that by 2009, their turnover was in excess of £28 million.

Westridge now undertakes all forms of main contracting and over the years has built an excellent reputation for quality, reliability, service and innovation. It is their intention that this continues to be enhanced.

The firm gained recognition when it received Investors In People status in October 2000 and has enjoyed successful re-accreditation 3 times since, most recently in September 2009.  Westridge also won a Low Energy Social Housing Project of the Year award for Abbey Walk, Storrington, West Sussex built for Greenoak Housing Association.

often working at height when carrying out in situ repairs. A particularly challenging element of this work was the need to remove the 25 square metre St Mark pendentive mosaic, which hangs just above the organ, to the company’s workshop for restoration and then re-hanging it six months later. This involved working on a very high scaffold suspended from the cathedral’s central dome at a level just below the Whispering Gallery.

“This was a particularly noteworthy project for us. It was an enjoyable job, working with a nice team and all went to programme” said Mr Gary Bricknell, Director of Trevor Caley Associates.

Other prestigious projects by the company include the recent completion of mosaic tile works at the Grade 1 listed St Pancras Station, as well as schemes at the Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial.

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