Pupils’ backing as £14m school plans revealed

Plans  have been on display in the school hall,  for the redevelopment of Collegiate High School.
Plans have been on display in the school hall, for the redevelopment of Collegiate High School.
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These are the latest designs drawn up for a new £14m school to house pupils from three Blackpool schools.

Developers unveiled the plans at Collegiate High School last night to show what the new buildings on Blackpool Old Road will look like.

The facilities will house two schools, one over three storeys for pupils from the merged Collegiate and Bispham high schools and another single storey building for Highfurlong Special School.

Around £10m has been set aside for the secondary school with a further £3-4m for the special school.

The plans show the secondary, set to convert to academy status, to have more than a dozen specialist classrooms including five technology rooms, a purpose built dance studio and science labs, as well as a specially built hydrotherapy room for Highfurlong.

Pupils and parents have welcomed the designs for the secondary school, saying viewing the end product puts paid to months of uncertainty over the merger.

Vicky Teece, 44, whose daughter Kaitlynn, 11, is in the newly merged Year Seven, said: “I think it’s really nice, it’s a big difference. It does make us feel better about it all.”

And pupil Aaron Parfitt, 13, in Year Eight at Bispham High School, said: “At first I didn’t want to come to this school but now I do. I’m overwhelmed by the plans.”

John Topping, acting headteacher at Collegiate High School, said the evening had been open to all members of the community to find out about the building work and improvements to the school.

He added: “It’s going to be a wonderful base for children from the Bispham and Collegiate communities with a brand new academy structure.

“To see the demolition that’s going to take place that’s going to create some concern in the community so we want to allay fears, show that the school and local authority are mindful of the needs of the community.”

The development and designs have prompted some concerns from neighbours of the school though.

John Nield, 54, of Westfield Avenue, raised fears about the traffic problems and potential litter that could be created by more children attending the school.

But he said he was impressed with the designs.

He added: “The new school will be welcomed by the pupils.”

The facilities on Blackpool Old Road will also house Highfurlong Special School, with a shared entrance splitting off into two sepsarate schools.

Highfurlong governor Helen Brough said: “I think we’re making the best of what we can possibly do with the budget.

“It’ll be a big improvement. It’s a school worthy for children.”

Developers Carillion, which is working with the Education Funding Agency on the project, said it hopes the community will be pleased with the offering.

Project manager Dave Rowland said: “The event was a chance for teachers, staff and residents to see what’s being built and see what people are particularly looking for.”

A second event to show the plans to interested parties is planned for October 8 at Bispham High School, on Bispham Road.

Plans are expected to be submitted to Blackpool Council in October. Demolition of existing buildings could begin at Christmas with all building work anticipated to be complete by March 2015.

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