Darlington MP Peter Gibson has officially marked the start of a £1m project to create a new sixth form centre at the town’s Carmel College.
The work, which is being carried out by Wharton Construction, represents one of the final pieces in the redevelopment of The Headlands site.
Mr Gibson, who performed the groundbreaking ceremony, said: “I’m extremely honoured to be asked by Carmel College to mark the official start of this exciting project.
“It represents a significant investment in the future of its students and will be a fine addition to its already first-rate facilities.”
Predominantly used by sixth form students for self-directed studies, as well as for fitness and sports, the building will feature a viewing gallery that looks onto the sports hall.
Changing and storage facilities will also be available for use out-of-hours by community groups, including Darlington Hockey Club, Bishop Auckland Hockey Club and longbow archery club, Archers of the Tees.
The project, due to be completed by the autumn, is centred around the redevelopment of an old stable block.
Darlington-based Wharton Construction will also extend the building to connect with the current sports hall – creating up to 400 sq. metres of space across two storeys.
Mike Shorten, Principal, said: “This development will further enrich the academic and sporting experience we provide and underlines the College’s commitment to its students.
It also represents the final piece of the jigsaw in terms of the redevelopment of the site and we are very much looking forward to its completion.”
Matthew Wharton, director of Wharton Construction, added: “As a local company, we are pleased to have successfully tendered this project and we are looking forward to delivering a state of the art sixth form centre.”
Neil Turner, director of project architects Howarth Litchfield Partnership, added: “We are delighted to be involved in creating an enhanced teaching environment and look forward to collaborating with Wharton Construction on future developments.”
The Catholic college, which welcomes students from all faiths and backgrounds, is rated as outstanding by Ofsted.