Woodlands Meed College rebuild update
Work is continuing apace to create a new Woodlands Meed College for children in Burgess Hill with special educational needs and disabilities.
Construction of the new college building has been ongoing for ten months.
With all the foundation work fully completed, the main building is now taking shape.
A design change to the North Core lift during construction has unfortunately caused a delay of two weeks to the building programme. This has created a need to push back the timings for moving pupils into the new building, and for demolishing the old buildings ready for construction of the new entrance, parking area and all-weather pitch.
The situation has been carefully reviewed by Woodlands Meed, West Sussex County Council and the contractor ISG, and all practical options have been considered.
All have agreed to wait to move children into the new building until after the summer holidays to minimise disruption to lessons and the school day as much as possible. As a result, the demolition work will take place during the summer holidays, when the school is empty. Pupils will then start the new 2023 Autumn Term in their new building, instead of moving during the May half-term as originally planned.
Marion Wilcock, Chair of Governors at Woodlands Meed, said “Of course we are all disappointed as everyone, without exception, would like to occupy the new building just as soon as possible. However, it was almost inevitable that with construction on this tight site in this current construction climate that there would be a delay in the programme at some point. We have all taken the view that the interests of pupils must come first at all times. This extension will also mean that pupils will be undisturbed during the exam period and will have more transition and familiarisation time.”
Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills said: “Everyone involved is fully committed to prioritising the needs of our pupils and finishing the new College building as quickly as possible. We have worked with the College and ISG to find a solution which is in the best interests of Woodlands Meed pupils and staff. Any delay is of course disappointing, but what this does mean is that pupils will have the opportunity to visit and be guided around their new facilities during the second half of the 2023 summer term so they can acclimatise to their new college before they make the move.”