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Department seeks Tynwald's approval for school scheme 2 July 2009

THE Department of Education will seek Tynwald’s approval this month for the main phase of work on a new secondary school at Bemahague, Onchan.

The Department plans to close Park Road School in Douglas and relocate its intake (Years 7 and 8 – currently 467 pupils), as well as Year 9 (currently 211 pupils) from St Ninian’s Upper School, to the new St Ninian’s Lower School at Bemahague.

St Ninian’s Upper School will be retained for Years 10 to 13 (ie, Key Stage 4 and post-16).

Provided Tynwald approval is obtained, the new school will open in September 2012 and will have capacity for 800 students, with core facilities sized for 300 more to aid future expansion.

Last December, the Department gained Tynwald’s approval to proceed with the first phase of work, the removal of hedgerows on the site, the installation of new traffic signals on Hillberry Road and improvements to the junction at Heywood Drive. The Department is now asking Tynwald to approve funding of £29,668,698 for the construction of the school itself.

If the go-ahead is given, local company Auldyn Construction Ltd will start work in August this year.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK said the school will offer excellent, modern facilities, with three teaching blocks set over three storeys, located off a glazed ‘street’.

‘The school will include a special unit (lacking at Park Road), which will incorporate a hydrotherapy pool suite for the use of the unit’s students and also those from other primary and secondary units on the Island,’ the Minister said. ‘Other facilities will include a sports hall and changing facilities with direct access for community use, an assembly hall, a full cooking kitchen and dining facilities and a lecture theatre.’

Football and rugby pitches, a cricket oval, an all-weather pitch and tennis courts are also planned, as well as extensive further hard play areas and soft landscaping. A large bicycle shelter, a bus drop-off/collection area and car parking also feature in the plans.

A new footbridge over the A18 TT course will ensure good pedestrian and cycle access to the school.

‘The project will be highly energy efficient to reduce the impact on the environment and reduce the Department’s revenue running costs during the life of the scheme,’ the Minister said.
‘Many measures have been incorporated, including a ground source heating pump system to provide under-floor heating for the majority of the ground floor, improved air tightness, improved thermal insulation, solar hot water heating to provide domestic hot water to the sports hall changing area and sophisticated lighting control with occupancy detection and lighting level control depending on ambient light levels.’

Although it is planned that the majority of the school will be completed by July 2012, the all-weather pitch and tennis courts, with temporary changing facilities, will be ready for use by school and community groups by spring 2011.

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