The new complex for key client Northumberland County Council includes a 1600-pupil high school, 420-pupil primary school with 52-place nursery as well as a leisure centre including pools, a spa, a gym and virtual cycling studio, along with a library, bar and café.
The development was never destined to be your average everyday project. Whilst crafting the business case, the ambition was clear - to deliver an integrated state-of-the-art community facility whilst increasing ‘bang for their buck’ through the procurement process.
As technical advisors providing cost management, employer’s agent and principal designer services, Faithful+Gould derived an innovative procurement solution. Running a true design competition via Competitive Dialogue for the selection of the contractor. It focussed on quality and added value as bidders were docked points for not spending the whole of the construction budget. The result is an awe-inspiring design with added value enhancements of over £2.5m for Clip ‘n’ Climb climbing area, aqua play, soft play, teaching walls, lecture theatre, separate primary dining and activity streets.
Lawrence Inkster, Director at Faithful+Gould’s Newcastle Office and Technical Advisor for the project, said: “This has been one of the most technically challenging and rewarding commissions we’ve delivered in partnership with Northumberland County Council. We’re incredibly proud to have achieved their ambitions and to have delivered an inspiring learning and leisure environment for the community of Ponteland. It’s been a collaborative effort by an experienced team which had the community at its heart, and it is the platform for a lifetime of learning and for improving health and wellbeing within the region.”
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member responsible for Children’s Services said: “I have no doubt that this facility will benefit children, young people and their families for years to come. It is important that our children and young people grow up with opportunities, are happy and safe, and have access to learning and leisure provision such as these. To have them on their doorstep is without doubt an incredible benefit for their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
An educational offering such as this in the community of Ponteland will bring benefits of its own, giving local children and young people access to outstanding learning facilities from the earliest opportunity.”
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Healthy Lifestyles said: “The council is extremely proud of what has been achieved here for the community of Ponteland. In partnership with Active Northumberland, we have managed to bring to life a vision which will hopefully encourage more people to get active and improve their health and wellbeing, but in an environment, they can enjoy and be proud of.”
“Not only will fitness enthusiasts have some of the best facilities in the north east, the new leisure centre will offer so much more to the local community with opportunities for fun, fitness and relaxation. We want residents to know that it is a facility that will welcome and support everyone - whatever their age. It is inclusive and accessible to all; however, we must stress that all activities must be pre-booked so that social distancing can be adhered to.”