New Woodlands Meed College is taking shape

The rapid progress being made to rebuild Woodlands Meed College was celebrated at a special ground-breaking event at the Burgess Hill special school.

The footprint of the brand-new facilities is emerging and on Friday, 13 May 2022, college pupils, teachers and governors joined West Sussex County Council leader Paul Marshall, Cabinet Member for Learning & Skills Nigel Jupp and other Council representatives, along with Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies, contractor ISG, architect Haverstock and other invited guests, to mark the milestone.

The County Council is leading and funding the £21.6m project to create much-improved facilities for 100 college pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities. Construction specialist, ISG, was commissioned to construct the new college through the Southern Construction Framework. You can keep up to date on the project’s progress on our Woodlands Meed webpages.

At the event a ceremonial spade was presented to college pupils Nathan Martin, Niamh Newman, William Jeffrey before they were then given a tour of the site.

Nathan said: “I think it’s good, it’s going to make a big difference to lots of people for a long time.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Woodlands Meed head Adam Rowland said: “It’s brilliant that we’ve got William, Nathan and Niamh here to see this project and represent key stages 3, 4 and 5. The legacy that this building will provide for those pupils to provide the right environment, the right space for them to develop and grow and thrive is so, so important.”

Construction began in late November 2021 and in six months, the ground works have progressed well, with the foundations for the new college building laid. A new hydrotherapy swimming pool is nearing completion and other specialist facilities including all-weather pitches, a sports hall, bigger classrooms, outside play areas and gym and an amphitheatre will all be emerging in the coming months.

Construction has been helped by good weather and the building remains on course for completion by Spring 2023, with the external works finished by Autumn 2023.

Speaking at the event, Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “A major part of our work is towards special schools, Woodlands Meed being one of the most successful and a great example to all our other schools.

“I hope that this project will show you, the pupils, in your future life how things can materialise and change. A lot of people have provided a great deal of skill and enthusiasm to where we are today, and I really look forward to this time next year when I hope your chairman will be cutting the ribbon to open the college.”

Richard Skone, Regional Director, ISG, said “We are delighted to be working with West Sussex County Council and Woodlands Meed College to deliver this fantastic facility for young people with special education needs and disabilities. It is a pleasure to welcome representatives from Woodlands Meed College’s leadership team and student body, from West Sussex County Council, the local MP and our neighbours at Birchwood Grove Primary School, to our site today as we celebrate the completion of preparatory ground works and the start of work on the college building itself. ISG is proud to be working with our partners to deliver on the aspirations of young people and their parents across West Sussex.”