A smiling school pupil has secured the last bolt in the metal skeleton of his new £6m Leeds school.
Odin Powell, a student at Morley Newlands Primary School, was chosen from hundreds of youngsters to fit the ceremonial last piece in the frame of the landmark new 700-pupil facility.
The Year 5 pupil wrote an emotive article about what the new school building will mean to him, prompting staff to select him to board a cherry picker to go up and secure the bolt in front of all of his schoolmates yesterday.
All the school’s pupils were also given the chance to sign a metal girder that will form part of the building.
The school, in Wide Lane, Morley, is having a new 3,200sqm building constructed on its playing fields to replace the current aging facilities and temporary classrooms.
Headteacher Adrian Stygall told the YEP: “It’s a bit of history in the making. We have battled against a very difficult building, we have had floods and bursts and very, very cold days.
“The new building will be a state of the art, wonderful structure that’s going to be the best designed school in Leeds.”
He said the old school building, which was put up in 1957, was originally designed to last 25 years but has so far lasted 56.
The new building will feature a mix of classrooms and open spaces as well as a large community hub and two large halls which will be available to the wider community.
The new-build will also allow it to cater to over 220 more pupils, aged three to 11, than it does at present, while staff levels will also increase from 60 to almost 90 within six years of the new site opening in September 2014.
The construction of the new building, which was designed by architects NPS, is being overseen by Wates Construction which recently sponsored and paid for a new £600 rugby kit for Morley Newlands Primary’s pupils.
Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls said: “It’s fabulous to see the new Morley Newlands school take shape. Having good buildings and spaces in which to learn is so important and makes a real difference to children’s learning.
“I can’t wait to see our new Morley school finished and welcoming children through its doors.”
Mr Balls added that despite the expansion of Morley Newlands, there is still a shortage of primary school places in the area, which he has raised with Leeds City Council officers.
The council is currently forging ahead with a £4m plan to expand primary schools in the city to tackle a potential shortfall of 4,000 places by 2016/17.