Education: News In Brief
Wednesday, September 8, 1999 Published at 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Privately-built school opens
The first state secondary school in Britain built with private capital has opened.
Sir John Colfox Comprehensive in Bridport, Dorset, has been built under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract between Dorset County Council and construction and facilities-management company Jarvis.
The overall cost is £22.2m over the 30-year life of the contract, during which Jarvis will run catering, cleaning and maintenance services.
The headmaster, Chris Mason, said: "The building is absolutely breathtaking, and we have been incredibly lucky in the facility that we have been given."
The Project Director for Jarvis, Ken Gill, said its success owed much to the "spirit of partnership" between his company, the council and the school.
The leader of Dorset County Council, Trevor Jones, said: "Dorset charted new territory with this initiative, and it has been tremendously exciting to see the new building take shape.
"The PFI project with Jarvis has made it possible to provide a modern, spacious and well-equipped school, and at a lower cost than the traditional public-sector route.
"In fact, although the children in the school will be the first to benefit, adult learners and community groups will also have access to state-of-the-art equipment, and the whole community will be encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities."
Although Sir John Colfox is the first secondary school built using this funding method, the first PFI school to open was Victoria Dock Primary in Hull, back in January.