Released: 13 March 2023
A new college for pupils at Woodlands Meed is now just six months away from full completion.
West Sussex County Council is creating the new facilities in Burgess Hill for 100 children with special educational needs and disabilities, who will soon be enjoying them.
The roof and concrete structure of the building are now complete. This latest milestone was celebrated by Woodlands Meed pupils, staff, governors, county councillors and council staff and representatives from the council’s contractor, ISG, at a special event.
A ‘topping out’ ceremony, which marks completion of the highest point of a building, was held on the new roof on 22 February 2023.
Speaking at the event, Woodlands Meed headteacher Adam Rowland said: “Since the ground-breaking event last year I can’t believe how quickly this has been built, and having it in our backyard, it’s been incredible to see it develop over time. It’s going to make such a huge difference to our pupils to have the provision that will enable them to succeed and flourish in their lives. A huge, huge thank you.”
College pupils and teachers marked the occasion by permanently signing their names and personal messages in the new roof structure. The small number of invited guests, limited because the grounds remain an active building site, were then given tour of the inside of the new building.
West Sussex County Council Leader Paul Marshall was joined at the special event by council chairman Pete Bradbury and Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills Nigel Jupp.
Mr Jupp said: “It is marvellous to me to stand here today to see all those plans coming to fruition, and we very much look forward to completion later this year.
“This is a sunny day for me to see this building so far advanced. Helping children and young people to fulfil their potential is a key priority within Our Council Plan, and this new college will enable Woodlands Meed pupils to do just that.”
The new college facilities being built include:
• An outside courtyard and amphitheatre where children can sit together and hold sporting and social events
• a new hydrotherapy pool
• Much more internal space in 12 new classrooms and specialist learning areas for music, sciences and food technology
• High quality sporting facilities including all weather pitches, and a 2-court sports hall and accessible changing facilities
• A large dining hall and kitchen, common room and a range of therapy spaces
• new outside learning and play areas including classrooms, an outside gym and gardening areas
• solar panels on the roof making the facilities energy efficient, reducing energy costs and the college’s carbon footprint.
Trevor White, Operations Director at ISG, said: "We are delighted to have welcomed representatives from West Sussex County Council, Woodlands Meed College and our neighbours at Birchwood Grove Primary School to site to celebrate this significant milestone towards the delivery of a fantastic facility for young people with special education needs and disabilities. With the concrete structure of the building and the roof now in place, ISG’s team is now focussing on external finishes of the college building as well internal fit out over the coming weeks and months, as we work towards completion this summer."
The new college building, which was procured through the Southern Construction Framework, is on track for completion this summer. The old college facilities will then be demolished over the summer holiday, enabling Woodlands Meed college students to begin learning in their new facilities from September this year.
Keep up-to-date on the progress of the new building on our Woodlands Meed College rebuild webpage.