VILLAGERS can be part of their new primary school by buying the bricks to build it.

A £2.5m project to replace the old West Cornforth Primary School with a new building is well underway.

Today (Wednesday, March 5) the community was invited in to see the progress up close and encouraged to be part of the development by buying a commemorative brick.

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The £10 personalised bricks will be built into the front of the new school and £3 from each sale will go to school funds.

Headteacher Janet Sarsfield said: “The community has such an attachment to the old school we want to transfer that to the new building, so people can part if its history.”

The current school opened in November 1926 and is no longer fit for purpose.

Electricity and running water will be a key feature of the new building- as every classroom will have plenty of sockets and a water supply and there will be bigger rooms and wireless internet access throughout.

Mrs Sarsfield said: “It will be great for the village to have a brand new school which is much needed, the old school has served its purpose but in October 2014 we’ll have one fit for the 21st century.”

Chairman of governors, Ernie Hurrell, added: “We’ve waited a long time, very soon we’ll open a better environment for all our children.”

The new building will provide a 210 place school alongside the 26 place nursery and Sure Start facilities on the existing school grounds.

It is being built by construction company, Sir Robert McAlpine, under the Government’s priority schools programme.

Andrew McAlpine, from Sir Robert McAlpine, said he hoped pupils look forward to moving into their new school and that watching its construction inspires some to become builders one day, like his late great grandfather who founded the company.

Mike Green, of the education funding agency, added: “We’ve 261 new schools on the go. It is great to see West Cornforth taking shape, it will be one of the first of 16 in the North-East finished.”

And Nick Wadley, a school projects manager at Durham County Council, said: “It is important to create a safe school, an environment in which children thrive and teachers aren’t limited and it benefits the community of West Cornforth to see investment and that it is valued.”