Head has the golden touch

Dene Community School headteacher George Harris fixing the 'golden bolt' to the steel ribcage of the new school building
Dene Community School headteacher George Harris fixing the 'golden bolt' to the steel ribcage of the new school building
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THE head of a school undergoing a £14.5m transformation has added the finishing touches to the building’s giant steel “skeleton”.

George Harris, headteacher at Dene Community School, in Peterlee, fixed a specially-made “golden bolt” to the metal framework to mark the completion of the structure’s bodywork.

Mr Harris, who was raised up in a cherry-picker platform to perform the ritual, said his pupils cannot wait for their new school to open in October 2012.

He added: “We’re all very excited to see the new school beginning to take shape.

“There’s still a long way to go yet, but it’s getting there gradually and we’re delighted that the site hasn’t interfered with our learning flow whatsoever.

“The only snag is that our teachers have had to draw their blinds to keep their pupils concentrated because they can’t take their eyes off it.”

Construction firm Carillion Building is behind the 213-tonne new-build scheme at the Manor Way-based school and the firm is keen to involve the school in the project as much as possible.

They recently arranged for pupils to visit Finley Structures, in Newton Aycliffe, the steel firm tasked with fabricating and erecting the new structure.

Youngsters saw how raw steel will form the core of their new building, and signed a steel plate with their initials, which was welded in permanently and incorporated into the construction.

Jane Braybrook, community liaison manager with Carillion, which is also building a 50-tonne extension to Glendene School and Community Arts College, in Easington Colliery, said: “It’s important for the school and the pupils to have ownership of the new school so we’ve been working hard to involve them as much as we possibly can.

“We take the young people to see the steel being made and we’re also taking them to see the bricks being produced, so they get a real insight into how it all comes together.”