£6.3m scheme starts at Kings Mill School

Gail Lawton - Head at Kingsmill School Driffield

Gail Lawton - Head at Kingsmill School Driffield

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A £6.3million scheme to re-build Kings Mill School at Driffield has started.

The major re-development project will be carried out in two phases, enabling the special school to remain open throughout.

Some pupils will be transferred temporarily into accommodation at other nearby schools while the work is underway.

Temporary accommodation has been created at the former Gembling Primary School, and additional classroom space is already available at Driffield School for older pupils.

The first phase of construction work on the Kings Mill site will see the creation of a two-storey building which houses classrooms, dining facilities, hall and a hydrotherapy pool.

This phase, which is on an adjacent former factory site, also includes the remodelling of the former infants’ building to create circulation and administration areas.

The work will be carried out by Interserve Construction Ltd, under the council’s YORbuild Framework agreement. It is due to be completed next summer.

The second phase will see the demolition of the existing classroom building and its replacement with a new single-storey classroom block. This work is due to be completed in summer 2016.

The school’s residential block will remain unaltered and in use throughout the redevelopment.

The pupils at Kings Mill have severe or profound learning difficulties.

A recent link-up with Driffield School enabled Kings Mill to offer places for post-16 pupils for the first time. The project will provide all the facilities that a special school needs for pupils up to 19 years of age, and in time a small number aged up to 25 years, in line with government standards for new schools.

The buildings are designed to include energy efficient floors, walls and roofs, along with energy efficient electrical and mechanical installations. In addition, the principal energy source for heating will be a ground source heat pump that uses the heat energy from underground strata.

The work is being funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s capital maintenance budget and Basic Need funding from the Government.

It is one of a number of major building projects getting underway at East Riding schools.

A £1.9million repairs and maintenance package has just got underway at South Holderness Technology College. This involves re-roofing and the replacement of windows, cladding and external doors on the Lower School building.

The work is being carried out by Hall Construction Group Ltd with funding from the council’s revenue savings carried forward from 2012-13. Similar works have recently been completed at Beverley Longcroft School and Hornsea School.

Major building work is also currently underway at Goole High School, where a new three-storey teaching block will be completed in June 2015. After this, the original listed building will be refurbished.

The total cost of the scheme is £10.1million, which has been procured by the Education Funding Agency, part of the Department for Education, as part of the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).

Major schemes are also due to start in the next few months at three other secondary schools in the PSBP – Hessle High, Withernsea High and Wolfreton Schools.

Mrs Gail Lawton, headteacher of Kings Mill School, said: “We are all extremely excited now that the new build has started. At the end of the project we will have a state-of-the-art building which will greatly improve our current facilities. These will include a new hydrotherapy pool with built-in moving and handling equipment, a rebound therapy room, larger, lighter teaching areas and a separate dining area and hall/indoor sports area.

“Kings Mill has continued to be a popular over-subscribed school in spite of very outdated facilities, so we look forward to being able to enhance our provision.

“We know that the next two years will be a challenge for us all as we manage the school on three different sites but we recognise that it will be worth the pain for the gain of a new purpose-built school which will be a flagship for the East Riding.”

Councillor Julie Abraham, the council’s portfolio holder for children, young people and education, said: “It is excellent that this council can contribute significant funding to enable extensive works to be carried out at Kings Mill and South Holderness Schools at a time of greatly reducing budgets – this is down to prudent financial management by members and officers.

“We are also contributing £3million in additional funds to enable enhancements to the Government-funded schemes at Withernsea and Wolfreton Schools. Children and young people from across the East Riding will see some fantastic improvements in their learning environments as a result of this investment, and I am particularly pleased that our more vulnerable pupils at Kings Mill will benefit the most.”

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