Esh hands over £5.2m Sunderland school for new academic year

Students have celebrated moving into their new school building for the start of term.

Sunderland students are jumping for joy after making the move into a new £5.2m facility, funded and designed by Sunderland City Council and built by Esh Construction.

Willow Wood Primary School, which replaces the former Willow Fields Community Primary School in Witherwack, has opened its doors to 168 primary school students, having been completed over the summer.

The new school building on Redcar Road has been custom designed to cater for modern learning and includes vast outdoor spaces from hard surface sport and play areas to a large football pitch and wetland areas. Indoor facilities will allow teachers to deliver enhanced learning for students, making use of amenities such as therapy rooms for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Headteacher, Lindsay Robertson, who has been at the helm for four years, said teachers and students were delighted by their new learning environment.

She said: “We’re all absolutely thrilled with the school, which is just night and day compared to the old building.  Everything about our new school building is aspirational and inspiring, and we know that will rub off on our amazing students who will be able to take so much pride in their learning environment, which in turn will see them take more pride in their work.”

She added: “I think our students know that, academically, things are changing. This new school building means they are now in a fresh, modern, clean environment and that will make an incredible difference to our children, our staff and to our community. Today is a fresh start. Seeing the faces of parents and young people coming into this amazing new space has just been wonderful. It’s such an exciting time for everyone, and our children deserve this more than anyone.”

The school provides new spaces that can be used by the community, ensuring that families of the children who study there can enjoy the facility.

Esh’s commercial build division was responsible for building the new facility, with work initially getting underway in September last year. Construction Director, Brian Joyce, added: “We are delighted to hand over this fantastic new school which will provide a much-improved learning and teaching environment for the local community. I am very proud of the team, having managed the additional challenges brought by the pandemic to deliver an outstanding development in time for the new academic year.”

Councillor Louise Farthing, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our schools programme shows the absolute commitment we have to our future generations, and seeing the impact this has – directly – on young people from Sunderland is just wonderful. Willow Wood Primary School is an incredible new facility, that the whole community will be able to benefit from, with amenities for parents as well as children.”

We are delighted to hand over this fantastic new school which will provide a much-improved learning and teaching environment for the local community. I am very proud of the team, having managed the additional challenges brought by the pandemic to deliver an outstanding development in time for the new academic year.”

Brian Joyce, Construction Director at Esh Construction

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