Work to start on two new schools
(Press release Dorset County Council:) Dorchester, 4 December 2015 - Contractors are due to start work on two brand new schools in Dorset over the next few weeks.
Damers First School in Dorchester will relocate to Poundbury in a move that will also see it expand its capacity from 450 to 600 pupils. In Bere Regis, the primary school is moving from Rye Hill to a new site in the village at Southbrook. This follows the re-organisation of the schools system in Purbeck, which saw the school convert from a first school to a primary school.
Cllr Toni Coombs, Cabinet member for Children and Young People at Dorset County Council, said: ‘We have seen a significant rise in the school-age population recently. The council has a duty to make sure all children in Dorset have access to good quality education in buildings that are fit for purpose and that we are able to cope with future demand. The new designs for Damers and Bere Regis will provide this in an affordable way. I am pleased we can now move forward with building these two new schools for the local communities.’
BAM Construction Ltd has been appointed to build the new Damers school, which will cost just under £10 million. They are set to start work in the next few weeks. Building work is expected to be finished in December 2016 with pupils and staff moving to their new premises in spring 2017.
Cllr Trevor Jones, county councillor for Dorchester said: ‘It’s almost 20 years since the proposal to relocate Damers First School to Poundbury was first agreed in principle, allowing for a much better school building and release of the old site for additional hospital use. It’s all taken a long time but I’m delighted that we’re nearly there.’
Contractor Morgan Sindall will construct the first phase of the new Bere Regis Primary school, which involves creating a new access road. This will be followed by the main school building and playing field, which should take about a year to complete and cost £5.4 million. The new school is expected to be ready for the children to move into early in 2017.
The county council has planned the building programme alongside the educational review in Purbeck, which means the replacement school can be funded from within the existing schools budget. Bere Regis Parish Council has been instrumental in helping the county council achieve the new school within the village.
Cllr Peter Wharf, county councillor for Egdon Heath ward including Bere Regis, said: ‘This has been a really good example of the local county and parish councillors working together for the best outcome for local people. This is an important project for our community that has required commitment and collaboration from a range of partners dedicated to making it a success for future generations.’