RENOVATION of a Dorchester sports facility is a step closer as a £2.2m contract has been awarded to a construction firm.

Morgan Sindall will carry out work to refurbish the sports hall at Thomas Hardye School, which will include a new composite roof covering, external brickwork and new sports flooring being laid.

There will also be an extension to the changing rooms and shower facilities.

It will re-open for use by the school’s 2,300 pupils and the public in the autumn.

Tony Day, clerk to the gov-ernors at Thomas Hardye School, said: “We are one of the largest schools in the country in terms of pupil numbers, and the renovation of the hall is essential for continued use by both the school and the community.

“We are proud of our sporting achievements at Thomas Hardye and have a number of sports teams which are looking forward to using the facilities once work is complete.”

The hall was built in the late 1900s and was used by the public until it was replaced by the £8m Dorchester Sports Centre in 2012, following an 80-year campaign for a swimming pool.

Morgan Sindall was also the firm awarded the contract to build that facility.

As Thomas Hardye School is an academy, it made its own decision as to which con-struction firm would renovate the sports hall.

Jon Daines, special works manager at Morgan Sindall, said: “Morgan Sindall is delighted to have been appointed to the refurbishment and extension of this key building in Dorchester.

“The quality of the sporting provisions in secondary edu-cation is important and the transformation of the sports hall will bring a wealth of benefits to the school.

“We understand the com-plexities that are involved when operating within existing educational environments, and Morgan Sindall has a proven track record in successfully delivering such projects on time and within budget.”

The company is also currently working on the £600,000 county council and National Trust reno-vation to the visitor centre at Thomas Hardye’s birthplace at Thorncombe Wood.