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Department to seek Tynwald approval for new school building 22 October 2008

The Department of Education is to seek Tynwald's approval for the creation of a new school building at Bemahague, Onchan.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK told Tynwald during Question Time on Tuesday that the £32.8 million scheme would provide a relacement for St Ninian's Lower School, situated in Park Road.

The Minister said:

'I am pleased to advise that the Council of Ministers has given its support to the policy of progressing with the design and construction of a new building for St Ninian’s Lower School at Bemahague to replace the current Lower School building at Park Road.'

She said:

'The timetable for the scheme will be in two phases. The first enabling phase will be brought to Tynwald in December 2008 and will comprise enabling works both on site and offsite to facilitate access and traffic management. The second phase, which is the main scheme, will be brought to Tynwald in July 2009.'

Between now and then, the scheme will undergo a full design review within the parameters of the planning approval including a full building regulations resubmission based on current standards, the Minister said.

She said:

'The Department is now moving forward with pre-contract design and tendering of the Scheme. Subject to gaining Tynwald approval to the two phases outlined, the new school will be in operation from September 2012. Earlier completion of the external sports facilities will be sought where possible to enable utilisation by the Eastern schools and the community.
'Following completion, the Department will close Park Road School and relocate the Park Road intake (Years 7 & 8) and Year 9 from St Ninian’s Upper School i.e. Key Stage 3, to the new 800 capacity St Ninian’s Lower School, at Bemahague. St Ninian’s Upper School will continue to provide for Years 10 to 13 (Key Stage 4) and post 16.
'Members who are familiar with the Park Road building will be aware that it is on a one-acre site compared to the modern standard of 8.7 acres for its school population of 475. The building itself has a floor area of 2000m2 compared to a modern standard specification of 3500m2.
'In addition to these capacity and area deficiencies, the building has an extensive list of issues which negatively impacts upon its suitability as a secondary school. The estimated overall development cost of the Scheme is £32.8m and the Park Road site and buildings will remain in government ownership to be used for purposes to be decided upon.'

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