Faithful+Gould Leads on High Profile Combined Schools and Leisure Complex in Northumberland

Emma Michalski
Faithful+Gould has secured a major role in a ground-breaking, combined schools and leisure complex in Ponteland, Northumberland.

Part of a £57m investment into education and leisure by the local authority, Faithful+Gould is acting as technical adviser to the Council and has the additional roles of Employer’s Agent and Quantity Surveyor as well as overseeing health and safety on the project.

Northumberland County Council is undertaking a reorganisation of eight of the schools in the Ponteland area, looking to move from a three-tier to a two-tier system and the new combined school and leisure centre development will form a major part of the initiative. The eight schools are currently in a first, middle and high school educational structure and will be reorganised into a revised primary and secondary function and be combined with the leisure centre.

"This is not simply the case of a leisure centre being tagged on to the back of a school, it’s a great piece of flexible design and the project will benefit both the children and the wider community of Ponteland."

Lawrence Inkster, Faithful+Gould Director

To cater for the changes, the current leisure centre will be demolished and replaced with a new build, along with integrated primary and secondary schools on the centre’s current site, combining three buildings that will exploit the efficiencies of a single structure while retaining the identities of the different facilities.

Lawrence Inkster commented, “This is not simply the case of a leisure centre being tagged on to the back of a school, it’s a great piece of flexible design and the project will benefit both the children and the wider community of Ponteland. There is also the added advantage of the efficiencies it will bring with the centre’s facilities more likely to be used by students during week days and the public at weekends and in the evenings.”

The new leisure centre will feature a swimming pool with an aqua play area, a 500-piece state of the art gymnasium, spinning studio and two 3G artificial pitches for football and rugby. It also has a space that will be a lecture theatre for the schools during the day and has the potential to be a community cinema in the evening.

The new Ponteland school and leisure complex will be completed in 2019. Willmott Dixon has been announced as the preferred bidder for the project and construction work is scheduled to start in late summer.

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