New-look £9m school starts to take shape

New building at Holbeach Academy'Photo:  SG110113-164TW
New building at Holbeach Academy'Photo: SG110113-164TW
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Excitement is high among students and staff at University Academy Holbeach as work continues to transform it into a learning facility “fit for the 21st century”.

The £9 million redevelopment started in April after Lincolnshire County Council gave the green light to a major facelift for the academy, enabling it to cater for almost 1,300 students from across south Lincolnshire.

At least five buildings dating from the 1950s and 1970s are being demolished to make way for 24 new classrooms, computer rooms, design and technology workshops, a new language laboratory and sports hall.

Students will also have access to new art rooms, music rooms and an multi-sports astroturf pitch.

Principal Steve Baragwanath said: “It’s a really exciting time for everyone involved at the academy and the more we see the building becoming a reality, the more excited we get.

“The school is being completely rebuilt over a six-year period and the only thing remaining is the main hall and dining room which will both be refurbished this summer.

“We think it’s right that our youngsters can benefit from the very best facilities available and that’s what our governors, staff and parents have strived to do.”

The rebuilding project is a partnership between the academy, county council, University of Lincoln and York-based Shepherd Construction whose contractors have built educational facilities in Birmingham, Coventry, Loughborough and London.

Mr Baragwanath said: “Shepherd Construction has been absolutely brilliant and its staff have done their utmost best to minimise the impact on the youngsters while they’ve been here.

“Their staff are getting on with the building work extremely well and they are very safety-conscious around the site.

Year Ten and 11 students are already benefiting from some of the new facilities built and Mr Baragwanath confirmed that about 80 Year Eight and Nine students, currently based at the former St Guthlac School in Crowland, will be transferred to the Holbeach site next year.

He added: “All the building work will be completed by April-May 2014 and we should hopefully be in the building by October of that year.

“I think the community of Holbeach is very excited about the opportunities an academy fit for the 21st century will present to our current and future youngsters.”