Work begins to build new school

Dominic ChessumWork has begun to build a state-of-the-art primary school in a Nar Valley village which will offer a 'bright future' to generations of young people.Dominic Chessum

Work has begun to build a state-of-the-art primary school in a Nar Valley village which will offer a 'bright future' to generations of young people.

Pupils from Castle Acre Primary went on site to officially launch construction of the new �2.2m facility this morning.

With space at a premium at the primary school's current Stocks Green home the new spacious facility will provide more room for staff and pupils to work an learn.

Based on Back Lane, to the west of the village, and capable of accommodating 77 pupils, it will include three classrooms, a hall, library, medical room, staff room and office space.

Acting head Keith Dickens said: 'The build means everything to this school.

'It is a fantastic opportunity for the future because at the moment the school is very cramped with inadequate accommodation.

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'The future is bright for the school and there is a great opportunity here for the children to make the most of their new facilities.

'There will be terrific computer resources and there will be good facilities for PE as well.'

Builders from Mansell Construction Services have already dug most of the foundations and the children were able to see the first walls being built.

Barry Fox, contracts manager for Mansell, said he expected the building to be ready by October this year.

He said: 'There will be 15 to 20 men on site and it is certainly doable by October.

'As with every build we rely on the weather but if we get a kind spell we can do it.

'We already have the access road in and most of the foundations are down so we have made a good start.'

The new school has been a dream for the village since the early 2000s.

At one point the primary was even threatened with closure but remained open largely thanks to the hard work and determination of school staff and local councillors.

Rosalie Monbiot, county council member for children's services, said the school's future was now secure and it was nice to see the new building start to 'rise from the earth.

She said: 'It had been a torturous journey but to think that there will be a new primary school offering a bright future for Castle Acre and the surrounding areas is wonderful.'

Chairman of governors Roger Quinton-Jones said seeing the start of the build marked the culmination of years of hard work by everyone at the school.

He said: 'It is a big relief to see it start.

'You are always very carful until the foundations go in. It is like a dream.'