North East & Yorkshire

New sporting facilities for Walney School

A £6 million project to construct a new sports hall for Walney School has been completed.

The project comprised the creation of the new sporting facility – which accommodates a range of activities including basketball, badminton and netball – plus the addition of ten new classrooms at the Sandy Gap Lane school. The new sports hall also includes a public access point – with a reception area – as well as changing facilities, so that the building can be used by the wider community.

In addition, new parking facilities, including disabled parking spaces and a new vehicular drop-off point for children with special needs, was also installed on the site.

Preston-based contractor Eric Wright Construction was the main contractor on the project, whilst Capita Symonds was the architect. The work was implemented by Cumbria County Council and forms part of the council’s overall education expansion programme in Cumbria.

Work began on the sports hall in summer 2011 and reached completion in July 2012, ahead of the new term in September. Once work was completed on the sporting facility, the second phase of the project commenced which consisted of the erection of a new building for ten classrooms and the remodelling of existing facilities at the school.

During the works Eric Wright Construction produced a newsletter to keep both neighbours and parents updated on the site’s progress.

The new classrooms were designed to house a range of departments including humanities, foreign languages, music and art. Each classroom includes a number of interesting features, such as interactive white boards and solar shading, whilst the building features a sedum grass roof. In addition, all of the classrooms include natural ventilation systems.

With the new classrooms in place the previous humanities department was reworked to become a pupil support department, whilst the old art rooms were remodelled to become a multifunction room for maths, science, technology and engineering.

Prior to work taking place on the site, a new sports hall at Walney School had been in the pipeline since 2004, however, plans were put on hold in 2006 when secondary education in Barrow underwent a process of reorganisation.

Walney School Head Teacher, Alan Dickenson, commented:

“A sports hall has been a long time coming, but it has been worth the wait and we were eager to get in and share the facilities with our pupils and the community.

“You get a real sense of space; there has been no compromise in this building. Eric Wright Construction has done a fantastic job.”

Alan Dickenson added:

“We are tremendously indebted to Cumbria Children’s Services which has secured the funds for our project in a very difficult financial climate.”

In addition to the new sporting and education facilities at Walney School, a brand new uniform will also be introduced over the next 12 months to complement the new developments. The new uniform will include a change in the school’s colour scheme – reflecting the school’s recent transformation – and will also introduce a new school logo.

Walney School Business Manager, Vanessa Lloyd, said:

“We rebranded the school logo and the colours and we had this fantastic expansion project, so it seemed the ideal time to update the uniform for September 2012.”

All of the pupils at Walney School will wear the new uniform by September 2013, with the old uniforms being collected together and sent to Africa to aid in ongoing education projects.

 Eric Wright Group

Founded in 1923, Eric Wright Group is a leading name in the industry, offering clients a wide choice of building options that take into account design, construction and financial responsibility.

From its base of operations in Preston, Eric Wright Group employs approximately 250 members of staff, with many members having more than 20 years of experience in the industry. The company completes work for both the private and public sectors and has an in-house team which includes surveyors, engineers, designers and a financial, legal and accountancy department.

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