Ceremony to bring ‘prosperity and good luck’ to new Worthing school

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The completion of West Sussex’s newest school will be marked by a traditional ceremony to bring prosperity and good luck to the building.

An age old ‘topping out’ ceremony at the 900-pupil Bohunt School, in Worthing, will see wine, oil, corn and salt sprinkled over the building to celebrate the success of the construction so far.

County councillors, school staff and senior managers from the contractor Willmott Dixon will attend the ceremony tomorrow (Thursday September 3), which dates back to ancient Persian times.

Councillor Jeremy Hunt, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Topping out ceremonies are a fantastic way of celebrating the structural completion of a new building. This centuries old ceremony will give this new state of the art school and its pupil’s good luck and prosperity for the future.”

The ceremony originates from the roof gardens that were popular thousands of years ago in Persia and were the last point of the building to be constructed. In those days a tree was planted for shade and as an indication that the building was complete and ready for occupation.

Wine, oil, corn and salt were then sprinkled on the roof once the tree was planted. The wine symbolised wisdom, oil - liberty and prosperity, corn – ripen prosperity into abundance and salt – purity and hospitality.

Ian Edwards, operations director of Willmott Dixon, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating reaching this stage of works on site. We have extensive experience within the education sector and it gives me great pride to watch these state of the art learning facilities ‘come out of the ground’.

“The school will provide younger generations with a fantastic facility that will help them to reach their full potential.”

Students set to attend the new secondary school this month have already had the chance to take a tour round the state-of-the-art building, giving it 10 out of 10.

At present the structure of the main teaching block and sports hall are nearing completion, with the external walls and roof on both buildings being started soon.

Demolition of the old music block will begin next week with the tower crane due to be removed from site around the end of September.

The new academy, which will be run by the Bohunt Education Trust (BET), is part of a £30million investment package for schools in the Worthing area.

The county council secured a Government grant of £20m and is providing £10m of its own funds towards the developments across the borough.

Councillor Hunt added: “As well as an excellent proven track record in performance, Bohunt brings with it numerous areas of expertise including a strong focus on languages.

“I have every confidence in their ability to provide an excellent education for the young people in the area and know they will complement the network of excellent schools we already have in Worthing.”

Residents can keep up to date with the building’s progress via a webcam at www.willmottdixon.co.uk/projects/bohunt-school-worthing.

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