A ribbon cutting ceremony was carried out by The Mayor of Okehampton, Jan Goffey, to officially open the state-of-the-art Third Generation (3G) sports pitch and new classroom, at Okehampton Primary School & Nursery. The 540,000 project carried out by property design and management consultants, NPS South West and built by Skinner Construction Ltd., of Sidmouth, was completed in the autumn of 2016.
NPS South West, were commissioned by Devon County Council, to deliver a priority project to construct a new classroom and additional sports facilities at Okehampton Primary School & Nursery School currently with 699 pupils aged 3 – 11 years. The school was growing in population and the accommodation was needed by the end of August 2016 to meet the increase in pupil numbers. A project of this size normally would take eight months to reach the point when the project could start on site, allowing for the consultation, design and planning process and appointment of the contractor. To achieve the incredibly tight delivery programme, NPS fast tracked the programme by accelerating the design stage whilst at same time working very closely with the school, Governing Body and LEA. This approach saved two months and enabled the project to start on site on 23rd May 2016. The project completed on time and within the 650,000 budget and was handed over to the school in readiness for the start of the new term.
A Devon County Council spokesman said: “This is part of a major programme of investment worth 8 million in school facilities in Okehampton to meet the educational needs of the young people of this growing town.”
The project delivered a single class extension with toilets and cloak space but also 60m x 40m 3G artificial turf pitch, one of the first in a Devon primary school. Okehampton Primary School located on the Northern edge of Dartmoor previously had a large grassed sports pitch, however, due to the school’s elevated position, and high rainfall, resulted in reduced use of the sports pitch in wet conditions. The new artificial pitch ensures pupils, of all ages now have access to an outdoor sports facility all year round, helping the youngsters to keep active. To reduce the cart away of excess soil NPS designated areas around the pitch that could be built up to create landscape features, including an amphitheatre.
NPS undertook all aspects of the design, landscape services and project management using their in-house teams; creating a range of exciting internal and external environments. NPS interior designer Daisy Hutson designed the classroom scheme utilising natural textures and light tones mixed with punches of lime green and purple, to further stimulate the pupils and promote well-being.
Chris Jay Director of Design and Maintenance – NPS said: “NPS architect Kate Wotton and her project team liaised closely with the teaching staff at Okehampton Primary, to carefully design the building and 3G pitch to work with the existing school and environment. The project was successfully built on time and within budget, and it was an incredible achievement which has significantly enhanced the facilities at Okehampton Primary School for many years to come.”
Hazel Fox – Head Teacher Okehampton Primary said: “The Governing Body and I are very happy with the outcome of both projects and the professionalism of both NPS and Skinners. We only had very minor issues as we went along and clear communication resolved these very quickly and we were pleasantly surprised that it came in on time – so really just a huge thank you to all concerned.” She adds: “The sports pitch will, without doubt, have a direct impact on improving the children of Okehampton’s fitness levels and health. And it’s a real community project as Okehampton Rugby Club are currently using the school’s new pioneering sports field in the evenings for their training practice, whilst they’re having renovations to their pitches.”