Kier has successfully handed over phase one of its Ponteland School & Leisure project to Northumberland County Council (NCC). The project comprises of a new primary, high school and leisure centre co-located within one multi-purpose building. As part of the wider community commitment Kier also constructed a brand-new community fire station which was handed over to the Northumberland Fire Service in January 2020.
The 1600-pupil high school, 420-pupil primary school and a 52-place nursery have opened their doors to pupils this week.
The leisure centre managed by NCC’s leisure partner, Active Northumberland includes a six lane 25 metre pool, a trainer pool, aqua play, softplay, Clip‘N’Climb café, sports bar, 100 station gym, spinning studio, dance studios and luxury spa facilities. The indoor ‘community street’ will also be home to the Ponteland Public Library. Visitors will be welcomed to these facilities once Covid restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts will be pleased to know there are six tennis courts and a full size 3G pitch which have been designed to be used by both the schools and the local community. The four badminton court sports hall with indoor cricket nets will also provide great opportunities for indoor sports activities.
The site will also be home to Ponteland United Football Club, Ponteland Rugby Club, Ponteland Cricket Club and Ponteland Archery Club.
Kier is committed to investing in local communities on all projects and Ponteland was no different – providing hands on work experience to those locally, supporting apprenticeships and utilising local labour wherever possible.
Kier’s social value on this project included:
- 14 new employment opportunities
- 2 higher level skills employment opportunities
- 2 new apprentices
- 16 educational activities / site visits
- 21 work experience placements
- 332 apprentice weeks on site
This commitment to the project saw a social return on investment at £0.69 in every £1 spent.
Regional director, Kier Regional Building Northern, Dan Doherty, said: “We are pleased to handover the Ponteland development to Northumberland County Council. This milestone is a testament to our experienced team and local supply chain, who have worked collaboratively to ensure that throughout COVID-19 we have been able to continue working on the project whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Ponteland is a major investment, that will have a lasting legacy for the local community, and we are pleased to have been able to deliver modern learning facilities for pupils in the area. We look forward to the development being used for years to come.”
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member responsible for Children’s Services said: “I have no doubt that this facility will benefit children, young people and their families for years to come. It is important that our children and young people grow up with opportunities, are happy and safe, and have access to learning and leisure provision such as these. To have them on their doorstep is without doubt an incredible benefit for their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
“An educational offering such as this in the community of Ponteland will bring benefits of its own, giving local children and young people access to outstanding learning facilities from the earliest opportunity.”
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Healthy Lifestyles said: “The council is extremely proud of what has been achieved here for the community of Ponteland. In partnership with Active Northumberland we have managed to bring to life a vision which will hopefully encourage more people to get active and improve their health and wellbeing, but in an environment they can enjoy and be proud of.”
“Not only will fitness enthusiasts have some of the best facilities in the north east, the new leisure centre will offer so much more to the local community with opportunities for fun, fitness and relaxation. We want residents to know that it is a facility that will welcome and support everyone - whatever their age. It is inclusive and accessible to all; however, we must stress that all activities must be pre-booked so that social distancing can be adhered to.”
Kier will remain on site until spring 2021 to undertake the demolition of the former leisure centre and high school, formation of two new rugby pitches, a new football pitch and completion of the external works.