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Derby primary school pupils celebrate completion of new teaching building and garden

Green-fingered pupils at Brackensdale ER Primary School planted an array of fruit and flowers and buried a special time capsule, as part of a celebration to mark the official opening of their new teaching building and adjoining garden by Midlands contractor G F Tomlinson.

The new single-storey, five-classroom building, located in the heart of the school on Walthamstow Drive in Derby, will enable the school to create an additional 105 pupil places from reception through to Year 6.

The project was delivered by G F Tomlinson for Derby City Council, through the Scape Group Regional Construction framework.

The school remained open while the works were carried out and pupils have watched the building take shape.   

A new adjoining garden was also created alongside volunteer-led community gardening group The Potty Plotters from Ashbourne Road Allotments, with support from CSJ Construction and Safe Access Scaffolding. The garden will provide pupils with additional outdoor space to learn about gardening, planting and the environment while maintaining a patch of their own. 

Working alongside the school and pupils, the garden has been designed to ensure the outdoor space surrounding the new building was used to its maximum potential to grow fresh fruit and vegetables and was constructed using recycled materials gathered during the building project.

To celebrate the official opening of the new building and garden, a special ceremony was organised by G F Tomlinson on Wednesday 18 December – with pupils, staff members and the chair of governors gathering alongside representatives from G F Tomlinson, Scape Group and The Potty Plotters, and Councillor Evonne Williams of Derby City Council.

The future gardeners of the school planted strawberry plants and daffodil bulbs to mark the ceremony, as well as burying a time capsule filled with handpicked items they believed represented modern life today.

BBC Radio Derby presenter Andy Twigge, aka Twiggy, came along on the day to lend a helping hand – with the capsule being buried in the new garden with an inscribed plaque above to point out its location.

Both the time capsule and garden activities were organised by contractor G F Tomlinson, as part of their commitment to incorporate both environmental and social value initiatives into each and every one of their projects. Hoping to leave a lasting legacy for local communities, the tasks at the primary school were innovative and exciting ways to engage the pupils during the construction of their new school facility.

Associate construction director, Kevin Dodds said:

“We are proud to announce the completion and official opening of the new teaching building and welcome pupils and staff members into their new learning space.

“The time capsule and school garden were ideal ways to get the pupils involved with the project. By choosing items for the time capsule that represent their life and surroundings the pupils have enjoyed laying down a marker in time. 

“The new garden was designed with the school to ensure it provided a meaningful green outdoor learning space for today’s pupils and future generations, leaving a positive legacy. Created with all recycled materials, it is a space for them to learn more about the environment and the role they can play in protecting it.

“The development has been a successful project as part of our long-standing relationship with Derby City Council, for which we deliver multiple schemes each year on Derby schools and public buildings through the Scape Regional Construction framework.”

David Hall, principal at Brackensdale ER Primary School said:

“We are really pleased to have such a great, new building as part of our school. We were included in all aspects of the build and really enjoyed working with the G F Tomlinson team.

“To be supported with the creation of our new garden area was an extra bonus and I know the children and our community will enjoy using the garden – working in it and using it as a calm place to sit. The time capsule project was a fun way for the children to think about what things represent 2019 and what we could put in the capsule for the people in the future.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive commented:

“We are all really proud to have been involved in the delivery of Brackensdale ER Primary School. The project has delivered a fantastic new facility with tangible social value that is making a genuine difference to the local community.”


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