Barnard Castle School is opening up its conference facilities out of hours for businesses in the community.
Businesses are already using its facilities to host regional meetings, conferences and team building activities. Sports teams are also staging matches, tournaments and pre-season training there.
The newly opened £1.6m sixth form centre offers the area state of the art conference facilities for the first time, with work and social space in a purpose-built venue that blends traditional and contemporary features.
With its own entrance and reception area, the centre can be used separately from the school, offering a conference centre set over two floors for anything from small business meetings to large lectures and exhibitions.
The centre has been planned to transform quickly from formal study area to comfortable social space featuring tables for dining and booth seating for socialising.
Use of acoustic materials allows for individual and collaborative sessions and multiple activities in the same open plan space. Flat monitors feature news and current affairs programmes and there is a large screen for projected material.
The centre features office, storage and seminar rooms including smart boards. Emphasis has been placed on the technological needs of modern living with Wi-Fi, PCs, USB charging sockets, electronic room booking tablets and intelligent lockers with thumbprint scanners and charging points for a range of devices.
For sports teams, space can be used for team seminars and meetings, while also being able to take advantage of the facilities within the school site, including playing fields, full-sized Astro, sports hall, swimming pool, squash courts, fitness suite and weights room.
The facilities have already proved popular with biathlon and triathlon organisers who take advantage of the swimming pool, ample grounds and safe roads.
During the holidays the school can offer full-board accommodation for residential camps for both sports team and businesses, with catering facilities, including an oak panelled dining hall.
Current users include elite sports teams such as Yorkshire Carnegie and Newcastle Falcons, as well as organisations such as the Institute of Physics, which has hired out the use of the recently completed science laboratories and classrooms.
We are blessed with incredible facilities which we are delighted to share with the wider community, whether that is an elite sports team or a local flower club or WI – Judith Pepper, Barnard Castle School events manager
Barnard Castle School events manager Judith Pepper said: “We are blessed with incredible facilities which we are delighted to share with the wider community, whether that is an elite sports team or a local flower club or WI.”