The Challenge:

The project comprises a new 420-pupil primary, 1,600-pupil high school and leisure centre co-located within one multi-purpose building.

The leisure 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. As part of the wider community commitment we also constructed a brand-new community fire station which was handed over to the Northumberland Fire Service in January 2020.  

For the residents of Ponteland, the new development provides a one-stop location for people to learn, exercise and socialise. Community engagement was key throughout this project, recognising the importance of keeping local residents updated on this major development for the local economy.

The final eight months of this project were undertaken during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Site operations continued, with large numbers of site workers on site at one time.

As part of the project, there was an archaeological requirement to conduct a dig on the eastern side of the Fairney Burn - the site of new sports pitches. During the dig, old settlements and human remains dating back to 2,500 BC were found. They also found a lot of evidence of early Northumberland settlements, pre-dating Hadrian’s wall, dating back to iron and bronze ages.

The Solution:

Site operations during the Covid-19 pandemic were managed safely and in line with all government regulations. The site team efficiently managed changes in work practise, government regulations and public health measures. Careful management of the supply chain coming from overseas was required, with the aqua play from Canada, pool from Italy, IT equipment from Indonesia and a lot of the electrical equipment from China. As a result of this and the re-sequence of the programme, we were able to minimise any effect of the pandemic on the timely completion of the project.

We undertook a range of initiatives in Ponteland to make sure our progress was well-known every step of the way. We had a digital information board at the site entrance updated on a regular basis with current information and photos for passers-by to see exactly what stage of the project we were at.

The Impact:

Throughout the project, we built and developed a local supply chain of sub-contractors and suppliers, largely comprised of businesses based within 20 miles of Ponteland, maximising local spend and ensuring that the Council’s investment was retained within the communities it serves.

We are passionate about supporting the local economy as well as showcasing careers within the built environment for young people in the local community, by providing work experience, training and apprenticeship opportunities. We held work experience events which involved students from Ponteland High school spending one week with a variety of Kier employees learning about the different career paths and partaking in activities including CPR training. Kier received an award for the CSR work achieved on this project.

Our social value on this project included:

  • 14 new employment opportunities
  • 2 higher level skills employment opportunities
  • 21 new apprentices
  • 16 educational activities / site visits
  • 21 work experience placements
  • 421 apprentice weeks on site
  • 27 jobs created
" The finished project is without a doubt an asset to the community of Ponteland and the surrounding areas: a flagship, new-build, educational and leisure development for the North-East and one that the Local Authority is extremely proud to have been able to provide for the residents of Northumberland. The County Council is extremely pleased with the scheme as a whole and is thankful to Kier for bringing this vision to life." "
Andy Parmley Project Manager Northumberland County Council

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