Gary Singleton is an ex-student from Framwellgate School in County Durham, who was also part of the team at McCarrick Construction that worked on the new £2.5 million sports hall at the school.
“When I left Framwellgate School in Durham in 1996 to start my journey apprenticeship with McCarrick Construction, I didn’t think I would be returning to the school decades later to coordinate a project like this,” explained Gary Singleton.
The project aimed to create a modern building equipped with all the necessities that a varied sporting curriculum requires. The biggest challenge for Gary and the team was that the building was scheduled to be completed within the grounds of the academy, within a live school environment, which presented both safety concerns and logistical challenges. Moreover, the old sports hall was being used daily by the school throughout the construction work.
The new sports hall was set to be four times larger than the previous facility and it spans now 1,000 sq. m. of space. It features an 8 metre high climbing wall, basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton, indoor football, hockey and archery facilities, as well as a gym and two teaching suites for the new PE courses.
Gary mentioned that these types of projects are rarely straightforward. “Once we were established on site, we discovered a pumped foul main drain from the school running right through the proposed new build, which was not identified on any drawings. Our task was to divert it without closing the school and to allow construction to begin.”
Due to a few changes in design, notable the addition of a huge MUGA (multi-use games area), the programme changed; therefore the team found themselves in the middle of the exam period trying to keep the noise at a minimum. Furthermore, the team had to work alongside ecologists throughout the project, as the school campus had been discovered to be a hibernation ground for great crested newts.
“I found myself back to school in more ways than one – I have grown professionally as a result. I am using my experience as part of my professional review in the hope of being recognised as MCIOB by the end of the year,” concluded Gary.