£9m project at new academy

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WORK is due to start in April on a £9million project to transform the new University Academy Holbeach.

Plans for the state-of-the-art revamp of the former George Farmer Technology College are in their final stages and will involve the creation of new classrooms, workshops, ICT suites and a learning resource centre.

There will also be a new sports hall, fitness suite and other areas for students and community groups to use in the evenings and at weekends.

Plans are expected to be finalised within a few weeks, when it is hoped there will be an exhibition to allow everyone to see them in more detail.

Headteacher Steve Baragwanath said it was an exciting time for the school, adding: “It represents a significant investment in the young people that the academy supports.

“We have seen over the years how improving the learning environment for students helps to raise standards and develop new teaching strategies, and this additional investment will enable this process of transformation to carry on.”

And he said planning is now underway for new courses that mean students will be able to go on to advanced apprenticeships, further and higher education.

The project, which is being done in partnership with the University of Lincoln, the county council and Shephard Construction, is expected to be finished by the start of the 2013 academic year.

Mr Baragwanath vowed that everything possible will be done to ensure the building work does not disrupt pupils’ education.

He said: “We have had about £5million worth of development at the school in the past three or four years, so we have experience of making sure it does not impact on the students.

“This is the biggest project so far but we are hoping to minimise disruption.

“Student safety is always paramount.”

He said the building work has been planned so it will largely take place “around” existing facilities so staff and students can move out of one straight into the new one.

Mr Baragwanath said: “We will make it as much of a seamless transition as possible.”