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Funding Sought for New Junior School 9 March 2007

THE Department of Education is to seek Tynwald’s go-ahead this month for the funds for the construction of a new junior school for Ramsey.

The school would be built on Lezayre Road, alongside the new Auldyn School, and would replace Albert Road Junior School, which is more than 100 years old.

Tynwald has already supported the expenditure of £468,000 and will this month be asked to give the go-ahead for the construction costs, totalling £6,921,600.

If Tynwald supports the scheme, it is hoped that work will start on site in April of this year to enable the new school to open in September 2008.

The new school would provide excellent facilities, including 14 classrooms, group rooms, special needs and nurture facilities, a library, a double court sports hall and changing facilities, explained Estates Director, Richard Collister.

A playground and outdoor teaching space, a football pitch for the use of both schools and Ramsey Youth Football Club, a floodlit training area and car parking and drop-off facilities would be created.

Mr Collister continued it was unviable to modify the existing junior school, which is becoming increasingly unsuitable for modern teaching methods and curriculum needs. The school is set out over several levels, meaning modifications would be difficult and not cost-effective. Significant sums would need to be spent improving access for the disabled. There is no direct access to grassed play areas and the playground is partially used for parking.

The Department is pleased that the Arts Council is to provide £100,000 funding towards seating, flooring and lighting and sound equipment that will enable the hall to be used as a community performance space.

Mr Collister said he wished to acknowledge the assistance of Ramsey Commissioners and the Department of Local Government and the Environment regarding the enlargement of the Lezayre Road site, without which the location of the new school, next to Auldyn School, would not be feasible.

Minister for Education, Mrs Anne Craine, MHK said:

‘I am delighted that this long-awaited development is at last coming before Tynwald. The Albert Road School replacement has been many years in discussion and, having finally decided upon the old Auldyn School site, the whole community is keen that we should progress with the building as soon as possible.
It is yet another major investment on the part of the Department of Education into the school infrastructure in Ramsey.’

The Department is to build on the good energy performance of the adjacent Auldyn School and is to incorporate a full ground source heat pump system, to be installed under the new pitch, solar panel heating of hot water and good natural ventilation and lighting through the use of wind towers and sun pipes. It is hoped that on completion, the school will receive a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’.

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