School’s £1.2m expansion scheme set to finish early

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A £1.2m programme of improvement work at Pannal Primary has allowed it to expand.

Work started in February and is due to be completed by Northallerton construction company Walter Thompson Ltd next month – three months early.

Three new classrooms, corridors, entrance, administration office, outside canopy area and extensions to the school’s existing children’s centre are already in use.

“The work has enabled us to expand,” said headteacher Mrs Jane Turner.

“We now have capacity for 420 pupils - we were previously very over subscribed with nearly 370 children in a school with only 315 places.

“The expansion has also future- proofed us as there are two new housing developments in the offing quite close to us.”

The Head added: “The work has quite literally transformed the school, giving us far more space and flexibility and an improved learning environment.

“Next year is the school’s 50th anniversary and the work will be finished by then so we’ll be able to celebrate in style,” she added.

Ian Saye, Walter Thompson site manager, said: “It was quite a complex job as we’ve been working round a busy school, and the work involved installing temporary classrooms. However, we’ll be delighted to hand the school back to Jane and her team three months early, which they’re obviously thrilled about.”

All that remains for the company to complete the job is to remove the temporary classrooms, Tarmac a car park and finish landscaping areas of the school.

Mrs Turner praised Walter Thompson for their care, patience and support during the months of work: “We were worried that it would be disruptive, but it couldn’t have gone much smoother.

“Ian and the Walter Thompson team have been just brilliant. They’ve been very sensitive to our needs and finishing three months ahead of schedule is a huge bonus.

“I can’t praise them highly enough.”

The company has become part of the school community, with a member of the team sharing out Easter eggs dressed as the Easter bunny and Ian himself giving bricklaying demonstrations. They even repaired potholes in the car park of the local church, St Robert’s.

“We have vast experience working in school environments and take great care to develop relationships with the school teams where we’re working. Keeping disruption to a minimum to both pupils and teachers is always a priority for us,” said Ian.

“We’ve been particularly lucky at Pannal where the friendly school team has welcomed us warmly and been very patient,” added Ian.

Walter Thompson earlier this year won a national award for their work at Linthorpe School in Middlesbrough. The company was declared winner of the Most Considerate Site 2016 at the UK Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Site Awards. The award was given within the category of sites with a project value of £500k to £5m.

At the same awards ceremony, the company was also awarded a Bronze Award for its work at Stokesley Primary School.