School extension set to get underway

Hull City Council has announced that the long awaited extension to Victoria Dock Primary School will begin on Monday (30/03/15).

The school, which has been oversubscribed for several years, will increase its capacity from 240 to 420 pupil places, with a 26 place nursery as a result of the extension.

The project development has taken longer than anticipated due to complex legal arrangements surrounding the land leases, but, at a community event held at the school this week, Hull City Council’s leader spoke of how the Council has continued to work with PFI partner, Sewell Group, to find an affordable deliverable solution.

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said:

“It’s been a difficult project to unpick, with many legal complexities and logistical challenges, but together the partnership has found a solution and I’m pleased to say that the construction team from Sewell will start on site on Monday.”

The two story extension will house six new classrooms and a new school hall with changing facilities. A new car park will also be formed to cater for the school and adjacent nursery.

Cllr Brady also announced that alongside the development, Hull City Council will partner with Sewell Group to restore the Winding House on the Dock, a Council asset that has been derelict for many years. Sewell Group are exploring options to transform the asset into a mixed use community facility and will carry out the work as part of their Foundation activity for 2015.

Cllr Brady said:

“This scheme is about much more than a solution for the school and the children on the Dock. Alongside this development we’ll be providing a facility for the community too.”

“The dock’s Winding House, built in 1866, is a proud reminder of the heritage of the dock, but it’s in a fragile state. This community asset is in need of care and attention and together with Sewell Group, we will be giving it just that.”

“The building will be restored into a mixed use community facility for the residents of the Dock, with the building and dock’s heritage showcased throughout.”

The news of the Winding House restoration comes following urges from the Council for developers to do the right thing with derelict assets around the city in the lead up to 2017.

Cllr Brady continued:

“With the City of Culture 2017 quickly approaching, this is a fantastic opportunity to highlight what can and should be done with the community assets around the city.”

Colin McNicol, Chair of Governors at Victoria Dock Primary School seconded Cllr Brady’s delight that plans are coming into fruition. He said:

“We’re thrilled that the extension is going ahead. It has been no secret that the extension is greatly needed. At Victoria Dock we all work together to provide the most innovative, exciting, learning experiences for the children, and the facility this is delivered from is absolutely imperative.”

As a local historian, Mr McNicol also spoke of his delight on the Winding House plans:

“In my opinion, these interlinking projects really showcase the benefits of public private partnerships. When the public and private sectors work together, it produces much more than either working individually, and Hull needs much more of this type of synergy if we are going to best get ready for 2017 and beyond.”

The project will begin during the school’s Easter half term, enabling construction firm Sewell Group to divert services whilst the school is closed.

Project Manager Steve Owen from Sewell Group, who most recently managed the Endike Primary development in North Hull, said:

“Personally, I’m really looking forward to getting started, it’s fantastic to work on projects such as these in my own city. We’re planning to utilise key milestones during the development to create learning opportunities for the children, linking directly into their curriculum activities wherever possible.”

The extension is due to open in January 2016, ready for the new school term.