The official opening of the expansion of Le Cateau Community Primary School has taken place.
A new teaching block with three classrooms, a new hall double the size of its previous one, a new library and meeting rooms have been created at the Catterick Garrison school.
The additional facilities at Le Cateau are among measures to meet expected demand for extra school places as a result of the growth of the garrison.
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The new classrooms will be able to accommodate up to a further 84 children over time, which would see the current capacity of 425 pupils rise to 509.
Ian Mottram, headteacher at Le Cateau, said: “The new teaching block is amazing. It’s a fresh, vibrant learning space with lots or daylight, but it is also a calm place for the children. It’s certainly meeting the needs of the Year Six children who are using it. It is almost an interim step for them from primary to secondary school.
“The new hall has allowed us to get everyone in for lunch together, rather than having two sittings, and to return to having whole school assemblies. The whole building itself is now modern and purposeful. We are now ready for the increase in numbers. We have the infrastructure in place.”
The classrooms have been in use since September, with the hall and other facilities being completed in phases since then.
The expansion at Le Cateau has been managed by North Yorkshire County Council, which has overseen design by Align and construction by Walter Thompson.
In all, the project has taken two years from design to completion. The £1.8m project was funded by the Department for Education’s basic needs fund plus contributions from developers.
County councillor Patrick Mulligan, executive member for education and skills, said: “The expansion of Le Cateau Community Primary School is part of our response to the expected growth of Catterick Garrison and future housing development in the area as part of the Richmondshire Local Plan.
“Le Cateau is at the heart of this expansion.
“Other measures to meet this increasing demand include creation of an additional two classrooms at Colburn Community Primary School, increasing capacity by 60 places, and one extra classroom at Hipswell CE Primary School, increasing capacity by 30 places.
“In the longer term, a new primary school will be built on the Darlington College site. This is expected to be in 2019 and the school, to be known as Cambria Community Primary, will be an academy.”
The ceremony took place today.
A ribbon was cut by the county council’s corporate director of children and young people’s services, Stuart Carlton, and Philip Gallagher, senior site manager for Walter Thompson.
A plaque was then unveiled by former headteacher Grahame Shepherd, who was recently awarded an MBE for services to service children.
They were joined by about 50 guests, including former members of staff and representatives of the garrison.