THE skyline above a Blackpool high school has altered dramatically as the first phase of an ambitious £22.5m building scheme nears completion.
Students from St Mary’s are expecting to step into new state-of-the-art facilities at Easter.
There are three stages to the project which will see the face of the entire St Walburga’s school community transformed by 2014.
After the Easter break the eagerly awaited parts of the building for 11 to 16 year-olds will be open as well as the majority of the specialist Sixth Form areas.
There will be a new sports hall, fitness gym, physiology laboratory, specialist science facilities, computer labs, a media studies suite and around 40 classrooms built into five learning houses.
And watching the new build quickly take shape on the site has been a source of joy for headteacher Stephen Tierney.
He said: “It’s wonderful watching the school being transformed.
This is such an exciting phase in the school’s history.
“We are hoping to move in during the Easter holidays so pupils will simply move from one old building into amazing new facilities.
“It looks stunning already.
“I’ve had so many nice comments and e-mails from people who are wanting to see inside it.
“We have been working in such a cramped space while the build has been under way, I think the students will be blown away by their new school.”
The second phase of the build will see the new sixth form centre open as well as a new school hall and dining hall as well as better facilities for staff. This is expected to be complete by 2013.
Finally, by 2014, Christ The King Primary School will move on to the site as will Christ The King Parish Church to complete the campus.
Cash for the scheme came from the Government’s doomed Building School’s For The Future programme.
All eight of Blackpool secondary school’s were due to be transformed, but when the plug was pulled on funding by the coalition Government, the future looked bleak.
But following a ﬁercely fought campaign by staff, MPs, pupils and parents, the dreams of St Mary’s and Highfield Humanities College in South Shore were put firmly back on track.
Stephen Tierney added: “I feel we are so fortunate to have got this build.
“The students’ whole experience will change as the building is so much better suited to modern needs.”