Saturday, 30 May 2020

Refurbishment of school play area and buildings

Refurbishment of school play area and buildings

MORE than £250,000 worth of improvements are being made at Goring Primary School.

The Diocese of Oxford, which is responsible for the Church of England primary off Wallingford Road, has paid for a section of wall and full-height window frames on the eastern side of the main school block to be replaced.

The old wooden frames, which were part of the original Sixties building and were a supporting structure, had started to rot so contractors were brought in over the summer holidays.

They ran slightly behind schedule so two classes were moved to temporary classrooms until the work finished earlier this month.

The diocese, which replaced an adjacent wall and windows in about 2011, has earmarked additional funds which will hopefully pay for a third section along the front of the school to be upgraded next year. It has also refurbished four cloakrooms.

Meanwhile, the parent-teacher association has paid about £4,500 for new playground markings featuring hopscotch courses, long jump challenges, a five-a-side football pitch and other outdoor games.

This was officially unveiled at a special play session on Friday at which children could try the different activities for the first time.

Tim Monk, the school’s business leader, said the changes were welcome as last year an architect’s report found many parts of the school were in poor condition and had reached the end of their useful life.

It was hoped that the school might relocate to a new site off Springhill Road, where a developer was offering to build new premises free of charge, but this fell through when another field which the developer wanted for housing was excluded from Goring’s neighbourhood plan.

The school now has the parish council’s permission to expand eastwards on to part of Bourdillon Field, a public green space, but governors are still discussing their next steps and say all options remain open. Mr Monk said: “The windows around the school date back to when it was built and they’re supporting the building so we needed to sort them out as a priority because they were rotting.

“Money is always an issue but the diocese has agreed a rolling programme of about £250,000 to replace them, which we’re hoping will allow us to do all along the front as well.

“Although the campaign for a new school didn’t achieve its aim, it drew attention to some of the problems we face.

“Nobody can say whether we’ll ultimately move but it’s certainly not happening next week and there are things to be addressed in the meantime.

“There’s clearly a limit to how much the diocese can provide as it only gets so much government funding but we have an excellent relationship with them. They understand our situation and have been thoroughly supportive, for which we’re thankful.

“We’re also very grateful to the PTA, whose members work hard throughout the year to raise money for additional projects.

“The children have really enjoyed the new markings as there’s so much they can do with them.”

The report by architect Original Field said all the school’s buildings were in a “tired” condition and in some areas had “well exceeded their intended lifespan”.

It said the school made “significant efforts” to maintain them despite limited funds but extensive refurbishment was needed to bring them up to modern standards, particularly in areas like energy efficiency.

It said rebuilding while expanding on to Bourdillon Field was viable but this should be done in stages or with temporary classrooms to minimise disruption.

A gradual rebuild would take up to a decade to complete as it could cost millions of pounds and the governors believe they would have to seek funding in stages rather than paying for it in one go.

They say even a refurbishment without expanding would cost more than £1 million.

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