YOUNGSTERS are set to embark on a new chapter after handing over the keys to their current school building before moving to a new state-of-the-art site.
Today is the last day that pupils will be taught at Jesmond Road Primary School, in Percy Street, Hartlepool, before it closes its doors.
The school, which opened in 1902, is moving to a new £7m site in nearby Jesmond Gardens, where it will be renamed Jesmond Gardens Primary School.
Surgo Construction has built the single storey building, which has been designed by ADP architects and will accommodate 315 pupils from September.
Headteacher Jane Loomes said: “There is a lot of sadness that this day has finally come because we have many staff members that used to come here as pupils and a lot of the parents and grandparents of current pupils were also taught here.
“It has been a fantastic building but it is not appropriate for teaching today as there is no Wifi capability and the outside environment and toilet facilities are very poor.
“But we are all very excited about moving to the new state-of-art site, which I am sure the children will love.”
Teaching staff will remain on site until Thursday.
The Percy Street school is now surplus to requirements and all the desks, tables, chairs and bookcases will be donated to good causes in Hartlepool and schools in The Gambia, west Africa.
The equipment is being donated to African children through links the school has made with the help of Catcote School Business and Enterprise College and English Martyrs Sixth Form College. John Ibbotson, chair of governors, said: “It is a sad occasion leaving a building that is listed by English Heritage.But we are moving on and looking forward to an exciting future in a new building.”
He added that the new school will have “tremendous” computer facilities with “unique” teaching spaces that can cater for large and small groups.
The new building will feature acoustic curtains to create a range of different-sized teaching areas, plus a bistro-style cafe.
Each learning space will have its own pull-out trolleys with a personal space for each child, including space for clothing and an individual locker.
Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “When I first came to Hartlepool in 1970 they were talking then about replacing this school so it is great to see it finally happen.
“The new site is a great facility and a great opportunity for the children.”
Coun Hill said it was “heartbreaking” that children in other town schools would not be able to benefit from revamped facilities after the collapse of the Primary Capital Programme (PCP) due to Government funding cuts.
In April former Jesmond Road Primary School pupils had the chance to go on a tour of their old classrooms, reminisce with classmates and to look over memorabilia, including old registers and two war memorials featuring the names of former pupils.
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