£13m transformation of Blackpool school gets under way

Dame Dana Ross Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Academy, and pupils cut the first turf at the new South Shore Academy building
Dame Dana Ross Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Academy, and pupils cut the first turf at the new South Shore Academy building
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Work has begun on the £13m transformation of one of Blackpool’s schools.

Construction work has been started with a traditional turf cutting ceremony by infrastructure specialists Morgan Sindall at South Shore Academy on St Anne’s Road.

Pupils and teachers from other schools in the area were invited to attend the event, which saw speeches from Jane Bailey, principal of the school and Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust.

Two new buildings are being constructed – a three storey main building and a single storey sports hall – with a combined floor area of almost 5,000m².

A school spokesman said: “The main building will house 25 classrooms across three storeys.

“General classrooms will be situated on the first floor, with art rooms and science labs on the second floor.

“The new sports hall has been designed to be fully Sport England compliant, featuring double height spaces to maximise the number of sports that can be played.

“The new facility, which also features a Special Educational Needs group room, will remove the Academy’s reliance on the adjacent leisure centre and ensure that pupils at the school have ready access to a first-class environment in which to exercise.”

School principal Jane Bailey said the construction work would provide the school with a state-of the art building which was long overdue after it missed out at the last minute on funding some years ago with Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme which was scrapped and replaced by the Conservatives’ Priority School Building Programme.

She said: “We are delighted that we can now see the new building taking shape.

“Our present school building is coming to the end of its useful life.

“Parts of it date from 1967 and are showing their age.

“We are pleased that we will have a wonderful environment for our pupils and which will support our progress towards becoming an outstanding school.”

She said the work was on course to be finished on time and they would move over to the new building over the summer of 2017 ready for the new term in September.

“Morgan Sindall have been great with us and have even offers some apprenticeships for some of our young people.

“Our children will be able to look round the construction work at certain times on escorted tours and even our year 11s who are due to leave this summer have been included and will contribute to the time capsule we will be having there.”

The old building closer to the road will be demolished and the area will be partly landscaped and partly used as a car park.

Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust of which the school is part, said: “As a Trust we are committed to creating a teaching and learning ethos which will enable pupils to fulfil their academic potential, which includes providing them with the best possible facilities.

“The renovation work at South Shore will provide a modern learning environment, which will fully support and inspire our pupils.

“We are delighted to be able to work with Morgan Sindall to deliver this.”

Morgan Sindall’s area director, Barry Roberts, said: “Once complete, the new look South Shore Academy will provide pupils and staff with a modern learning environment and will be an enduring addition to the educational offering in the area.

“As with all of our construction work, we set out to not only cause minimal disruption to school life, but also to complement the teaching on offer by providing access to work placements and careers advice for pupils interested in the construction industry.”