£1.4m building work finally finished at school

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SUS-150930-103529001

A school refurbishment which ground to a halt after a building firm went into administration has finally been completed.

Holy Trinity School, in Lower Beeding, held an open afternoon and cake sale on Friday (September 25) to celebrate the end of two years of working around a building site.

The project, which cost £1.4million, was funded by West Sussex County Council and gave the school a much-needed assembly hall as well as refurbished classrooms, an office for staff and a library.

A stained glass window in the shape of a cross at the end of the new hall held particular significance for all at Holy Trinity as it was made up of designs created by the children.

Headteacher Tracey Bishop said the end of the building work, coupled with having a new hall had made “a huge difference”.

A council spokesman said the original contractor, Farnrise, went into administration around Easter 2014 and it was left to the new contractor, Glenman Corporation, to finish the job.

Mrs Bishop described how both staff and children had learned to adapt after the loss of Farnrise. She said: “Everything ground to a halt and we were left with a building site. During the building work we’ve had to move round into different rooms. The build made it very difficult because we were squashed in.”

With rooms and routes around the school often cut off at short notice as the builders went about their work, Mrs Bishop said the children had become “quite good at problem solving” as they figured out how to get to where they needed to go.

With the building work a thing of the past, Mrs Bishop and her team are looking to the future. With a new hall, that future now includes being able to hold PE lessons when the weather refuses to play ball.

She said: “We’ve always been a very successful school but everyone has been up against it with the building. Now its about growing into the new spaces.”

When asked what the county council does to ensure the contractors it hires are financially secure, a spokesman said: “We undertake full financial checks through our internal finance department. They analyse the companies using audited accounts and risk factors to ensure that the organisations which work for us are vetted to the highest level.”

All money raised at Friday’s cake sale will be split between Macmillan Cancer Care and PTA funds.

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