A FAMILY-RUN building firm has started work on a £3m music teaching school.

Darlington-based Wharton Construction, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary, is constructing the facility that is set to enhance Yarm School's reputation for the performing arts.

Work is due to be completed next summer.

Loading article content

The music school will feature specialist classrooms, 10 instrumental tuition rooms, a drumming suite and a specialist recording studio.

In addition, there will be a 132-seat lecture theatre which will have retractable seating, making it a flexible performance venue.

The building, which has been designed by Associated Architects, will feature flowing lines and a keyboard-like design.

The sound-proofed building will be situated alongside the main Friarage site. Its modern design will complement the traditional architecture of the school’s main administration building, say developers.

It will link to the Friarage on all three levels by a glass stairwell which affords a loose connection between the buildings.

David Dunn, the headmaster at Yarm School, said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Wharton Construction. They are a renowned building contractor that has completed prestigious projects in the region including at The Bowes Museum and The Cleveland Tontine as well as many educational establishments.

“The new Music School will help to cement our position as a centre of excellence in music and performing arts, with our superb new dance studio, studio theatre and auditorium.”

Performing arts are flourishing at Yarm School. High quality performances have included a production of Fame, which thrilled an audience of 1,800 over three nights and the school’s orchestra and music concerts in The Princess Alexandra Auditorium regularly play to sell-out crowds.

Mr Dunn added: “Professional music tuition is available at every level and on a vast range of instruments. Every year hundreds of pupils take advantage of the musical opportunities, gaining insight into many different styles and cultures. The investment will no doubt help more students to go on to study music at university, conservatoires and even to develop careers in the industry.”

Matthew Wharton, director of Wharton Construction, explained that former pupils of Yarm School were working for the Kellaw Road company. 

He said “We have recently started constructing the new music school and are looking forward to delivering a fantastic project that will complement the historic Friarage building. As a local contractor, we are delighted to have been selected for this contract, and employing three former pupils brings a touch of sentiment to the project.”