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Builders carry out makeover at Kendal school
DOZENS of workers on a £20m water system upgrade gave a Kendal school a mak-eover during a team-building day.
Play areas were turfed, tennis courts mended, walls re-built and paths and fences created at Dean Gibson Catholic Primary School as part of a Ground Force-style challenge between United Utilities, Daniel Construction and Site Electrical.
Engineers, office staff and electricians from the three firms went head-to-head to see who could complete the most work in a day.
The aim was to bring together the army of workers replacing 180 huge Victorian valves on the 115-year-old Thirlmere Aqueduct, which supplies water from Cumbria to Manchester.
On arrival, the volunteers were treated to a rousing rendition of Bob The Builder by the school’s 167 children, who each received a high visibility jacket to keep.
Head teacher Norah Mercer said: “I was speechless at the fantastic work that was done.
“It would have taken us three years to get the money to get all that. I can't thank them enough.
“When you looked out of the window at all the high visibility jackets it was like looking at ants at work.”
Five teams of volunteers took a break from one of the largest water refurbishment projects in the North West to complete the project which, Mrs Mercer said, provoked a lot of questions from the children.
Those working on the day included former Dean Gibson pupil and project manager Lee Miller and Stephanie Nolan-Byrne, whose children Zoe, six, and Aaron, nine, attend the school.
The project was managed by Paul Anderton, who said staff wanted to do something ‘a bit out of the ordinary’ compared to traditional team-building activities.
“Wanting to put something back into the community is an important consideration for the hundred plus workforce on the project,” said Mr Anderton.
“We have varied backgrounds in construction and considerable resource and capability at our disposal, so what better than to do what we do best — build and rep-air.”
Jon Bailey, civil engineering director for United Utilities’ project partner Daniel Contractors, said other projects were considered but staff felt they could achieve most at Dean Gibson School.
He explained: “There were around 40 of us on the day, split into five teams, each given a set of tasks. Each team had a mix of employees from three companies to encourage communication and organisation.
“It couldn't have gone better. The children were great and we got all our jobs done, apart from some painting that was affected by the weather, but we sent a couple of lads back to finish it off.”
Parents and teachers are now working on plans to create an outdoor open class-room at the school.