Damers First School relocation: First bricks laid by Oscar and Harvey

The children of Damers First School saw their new school for the first time today.

First brick laid at new Damers First school. Copyright Celebrating Poundbury
School children laying the first brick at the new Damers First school. Copyright Celebrating Poundbury

To mark the historic occasion the youngest and eldest children in the school Oscar, 4, and Harvey, 9, laid the first brick for the school.

The other 30 schoolchildren – eco reps, junior governors, members of the school newspaper team – stood around on the site of the new school and cheered their fellow pupils on.

Celebrating Poundbury, first brick laid at new school
Oscar & Harvey laying the first brick at Damers First School

The popular Dorchester first school will be relocated to the new location, on the Great Field in Poundbury, in time for classes in Spring 2017.

As well as brand new learning spaces, the school will feature a music studio, a sensory room and a purpose built base for children who have more complex needs.

So far, around a third of the school has been built by BAM construction and the frame of the school structure is now in place.

Headteacher Catherine Smith said: “It was really lovely for the children to come along today and brilliant that he whole event was focused around the children.

“Being able to stand on the ground of their new school is quite breath-taking.”

Plans for the new school show a glass fronted reception area, a courtyard in the middle with play areas, lots of green spaces, with the front of the school overlooking the Great Field.

Sketch View of Damers First School by Richard Carmen
Sketch View of Damers First School by Richard Carmen

Sketch View of Damers First School on the Great Field by Richard Carmen

Mum of Oscar, Leanne Grieve, who lives in Poundbury, said her son was honoured to play a part in the special day.

“Every time we walk to the school now he will remember this and say that he was a part of it.”

School governor Tim Barnes, who also has two children Kobi and Tyler at Damers School said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see the school being built and really exciting for the children.”

The existing Damers School site on Damers Road, was built in the 1960s but has become too small for purpose. After the children have transferred to the new site, the school will be transferred to Dorset County Hospital.

Project Manager Simon Box, of BAM construction company, said: “This is the best part about our job, we are keen to give a legacy to the children of Dorchester because at the end of the day everyone remembers their first school good or bad.”

During the build BAM staff have been visiting the schoolchildren dressed as ‘Ivagoodsite’ to give the pupils a good idea of what the school will look like and deliver important safety messages.

Facts about the relocated Damers School

  • It will have 20 classes and a four form entry
  • Pupil numbers will rise from 450 to 600 in its first 5 years – an additional 150 places will go to local children
  • Staff numbers at the school will increase from 70 to between 80-90 in the next five years
  • As well as brand new learning spaces, the school will feature a music studio, a sensory room and a purpose built base for children who have more complex needs.

Timeline

Jan 2016: Building work by BAM begun

March 2016: Building steel frame erected

December: Predicted completion of main school building

February 2017: School relocates over and hands over old school site.

Watch the Video here

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