This is the exclusive first look inside a £5m “21st century school” in Blackpool.
The spectacular Blackpool Gateway Academy, in South Shore, officially opens to a new generation of pupils in September, as the resort’s newest primary school.
And it has already been given the thumbs up by pupils at Westcliff Primary School, Gateway’s sister school, who played a key part in the modern design of the building.
It was even one of the children there, seven-year-old Katie Bell, who came up with the name for the new facility.
She said: “I chose Blackpool Gateway Academy because it’s at the gateway into Blackpool and it’s a gateway to learning.”
Eric Wright Construction has overseen the £5m development, transforming a once-derelict brownfield site overlooking Yeadon Way into a school and community hub.
Spread over two levels the building comprises 14 classrooms, to accommodate two classes for each year group, each with access to its own toilets and on to the playground.
There are also four separate ‘learning pods’, a specially designed technology area for children to do crafts and cooking as well as a hall and drama studio. Outdoors there is a large playground with both hard and soft surface play areas, a junior sized football pitch and amphitheatre.
Teachers and staff from Westcliff Primary, in Bispham, said they are immensely proud of the new build and the children who have helped it happen.
Headteacher Susan Wilson, who will preside over both Westcliff and the new school, said: “We sat down and talked about what would make the best school for the 21st Century.
“Now to see it totally created, it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s beyond our expectations.”
Katie was joined by schoolmates Ethan Rowley-Terry, seven, Alicia Windsor, 11, and Sofia Abdali, 11, to look around the newly completed building.
Though they’re looking forward to starting secondary school in September Alicia and Sofia said they are envious of the children who will attend the primary from September.
Alicia said: “The children here will definitely be happy, they will want to go to school every day, they’ll be children who want to learn. I like the design, it’s very spacious.”
And Sofia added: “I think children will be really lucky to come to this school. I’m jealous I can’t come to it.”
The school, accessible from Baron Road and Seymour Road, is the first primary to be opened up in one of the country’s most deprived areas - Bloomfield ward.
Mrs Wilson said: “To have this facility not only for the children in this ward but also the community is great.
“We just hope the community embrace it, be proud of it and help us see how we can impact on the lives of children growing up here.”
Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for education at Blackpool Council, said: “The new school looks absolutely fantastic.
“I know people in the area have been watching the progress of the build for the last twelve months and it’s brilliant the work has been completed ahead of schedule.”
Eric Wright Construction, which also built Highfield Humanities College, in South Shore, completed its work last week, six weeks ahead of schedule.
The school will cater for up to 420 pupils and 60 staff and will be filled from September 2013, on a yearly basis reaching capacity in 2020.