Assurances have been given by a local council over a school building project after the main contractor went into administration.

Construction firm Tolent was involved in a £2.7m scheme to extend Kirkleatham Hall School, a special school on the outskirts of Redcar. Earlier this month, more than 300 people were made redundant by joint administrators overseeing the company, which has offices in Thornaby, Team Valley and Shotton Colliery, County Durham, who described “severe headwinds” plunging it into financial difficulties.

Another firm, Sunderland-based Brims Construction has since stepped in with a rescue package in a bid to save the posts of 150 staff. It said it was re-employing Tolent’s previous Teesside-based management team and working with former Tolent chairman and founder John Wood to restart work at some sites.

A spokesman for Redcar and Cleveland Council, which along with the Department for Education is funding the majority of the costs, said the main construction work at the school had nearly been completed. He said: “We are confident that the final works will be completed shortly.

“The council is working with relevant parties to ensure this is concluded swiftly and with minimal extra disruption to pupils in the coming weeks, despite Tolent Construction going into administration. The council will continue a dialogue with all parties involved, including administrators.”

Two new classrooms have already been added at the school and are now in use, 12 extra pupil places having been created in order to meet growing demand. The work to date has also resulted in a new facility being created to provide ‘rebound therapy’ for pupils – this uses trampolines to provide enhanced movement, therapeutic positioning and for exercise and recreation.

Last month, headteacher Paul McLean said it had been a

“challenging time” managing students’ needs during the ongoing project, but once complete it would provide further exceptional opportunities for young learners. It was hoped the work, which began in November 2021, and also entails a doubling in size of the school hall, new offices and other ancillary facilities, would be fully completed by September in time for a new intake of pupils.

 

Source: Teeside Live

 

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