Academy Buildings Contracts Signed


 A regional buildings contractor has signed a £46m contract with Northumberland County Council to deliver three new buildings for the Northumberland Church of England Academy, sponsored by the Duke of Northumberland and the Diocese of Newcastle.

Work has begun on all three of the campuses, which will be named after the local Northumberland legends Grace Darling, William Leech and Josephine Butler, and is being carried out by Kier North East and Kier Build, Kier’s major projects arm.

Northumberland County Council's member with responsibility for children and young people, Coun. Lesley Rickerby, says: “We are looking forward to the completion of the new Academy buildings, which will provide excellent facilities for staff and pupils on all three campus sites. Naming each campus after celebrated Northumbrians, who are revered for their good works and bravery, is a wonderful idea.”

The Grace Darling Campus, on the site of the former Newbiggin Middle School in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, and the William Leech Campus, being constructed on the Lynemouth Primary School site, are due to be completed by summer 2011. The third and largest development, the Josephine Butler Campus in Ashington - formerly Hirst High School and Seaton Hirst Church of England Middle School – will be one of the biggest and most ambitious Academy buildings in the North of England and is scheduled to open by Easter 2012.

The Academy opened in September 2009, and “has achieved a great deal in its first year and is making a significant impact in the communities it serves” according to the director of education for the Newcastle Diocese, Margaret Nicholson. She says: “We are delighted to see the sponsors’ vision for outstanding education in this part of Northumberland becoming a reality, and are thankful that the funding for the new buildings is not going to be affected by government spending cuts.”

Executive director of the Northumberland Church of England Academy, Phil Hearne, adds: “By 2012 all our students will be working in new or refurbished accommodation. This will have a huge impact on their learning and the opportunities available to them.”

Kier North East construction manager Paul Redman comments: “The start of these projects is testament to the efforts of the sponsors in bringing these fantastic learning environments to fruition. Kier North East is proud to have been selected to deliver these academies which, when complete, will provide exceptional opportunities for the children of Northumberland.”

Northumberland Estates project co-ordinator, Stephen Manion, says: “This is an important step on the road to creating a state-of-the-art and successful school for the area. It is a project that the Estate is very proud to be involved with and continues to take a hands-on approach in supporting its future development.”

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