The transformation of an historic building, into a new school for autistic children on Teesside, is ‘bang on target’ for a new year opening.
The disused Kiora Hall, in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, is being given a new lease of life by the North East Autism Society (NEAS), which is investing around £1.3m in the site as part of the charity’s expansion into the south of the region.
During his latest site visit, NEAS chief executive, John Phillipson, said: “We are thrilled with the progress, and it’s exciting to think we are on the cusp of having the school up and running.”
The official handover deadline is January 21 but Thornbrook Construction director, Ryan White, hopes that the development could be completed by Christmas.
“It’s going extremely well, and everything is bang on target. It’s such an interesting project because of the history of the building and it’s fantastic to be able to put it back into such a positive use,” said Mr White.
“The challenge is to try to retain the historic features while making it fit for purpose for the charity and, from everything we hear, people in the local community are over the moon that something so worthwhile is being done with the site.”
Kiora Hall has had varied uses since it was built in 1902, including a family home, offices, an Army gun battery, youth club, school, and community centre. It was also used as an Italian prisoner of war camp during the war.
“We want this to be a place that the people of the Stockton area think of as their own,” said Mr Phillipson. “It will not only become a school for autistic and neurodiverse children on Teesside, but our aim is to open it up for wider community use.”
The development follows the opening of the charity’s first school on Teesside, The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre, at South Bank, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. NEAS also operates a school in Sunderland, as well as a school and further education college in Newton Aycliffe.
Due to increased demand for services, NEAS has a number of exciting opportunities for teachers and teaching assistants, to join the education team at Aycliffe School.
You can apply online at Call 0191 4924387 or email your CV to