Children at Barnes Junior School are enjoying new state-of-the-art facilities while maintaining the heritage and tradition of their historic original building, all thanks to £2.5 millionof investment.

With a growing population being housed in a 120-year-old school building, there was an inevitable need for updated facilities.

However, with the building being a Grade II listed, knocking it down to create a new school was simply not an option.

The money, which is part of the City Council’s £45million programme of school updates, has seen the creation of a whole new school building, which is connected to the old school by a glass walkway.

The new building is home to a brand new kitchen, dining hall, classrooms and office space and incorporates solar energy panels to help reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

The whole project was completed in September 2023 and headteacher Simon Ward is delighted with the results.

Headteacher Simon Ward Said:

“The old dining room and kitchen wasn’t such a nice environment but now we have modern high quality facilities which meet the needs of our children. Due to the history of the building, any development was a complicated process and we had to work with the heritage planners.”

Part of the investment has also seen the old school building refurbished and redecorated and Mr Ward is pleased to retain such a historic setting.

Simon continued:

“Because of the historic status of the building, knocking it down to build a new school was never an option. “We are really proud of the history of our school and I’m pleased we could retain the original building. Many of our children’s parents and grandparents also used to attend the school and it’s a big part of the community’s history and heritage.”

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Young People, Learning and Skills, Councillor Linda Williams, said:

“Work at Barnes, which was designed by the council’s capital projects team with support from infrastructure and property services, was always about recognising this historic building and seeing how and where it could be updated for the pupils, the staff and the community.

“It’s part of our on-going £45million investment programme in city schools has included major works at Barnes Infant and Junior schools, new builds at Williow Wood Primary, Sunningdale School, Hetton Primary and large-scale refurbishments are underway at Fulwell Junior School.

“As a City Council we’ve always been completely committed to ensuring we provide the very best opportunities for all our young people and this includes the buildings and the environment they learn in.”

 

Source: Sunderland Echo

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