'Exciting times' as £14m project to redevelop Hans Price Academy is given go-ahead
A £14 million project to redevelop a Weston-super-Mare academy has been given the go ahead.
North Somerset Council has approved plans by the Cabot Learning Federation to knock down Hans Price Academy and build a new, high-tech complex fit for the 21st century.
The scheme will see the existing school building, built in the 1950s, demolished in phases with a new two-storey academy built on the existing school site and the current tennis courts.
The existing sports hall and the school's newly refurbished Sandringham building will remain in place.
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Assemblies will be held in the sports hall and temporary buildings will be used to accommodate some students as the work progresses.
The new building will include open plan classrooms, a new dual use theatre with tiered seating, art barn and exhibition space and an experimental science laboratory which can cater for up to 90 students at a time.
The school’s sports facilities will also be enhanced and the existing sports hall refurbished with a new floor and air conditioning system.
The school’s fitness suite will also get an upgrade and new indoor changing facilities will be created.
The theatre will also be able to be used for sporting activities by the local community in the evening.
Hans Price Academy has around 750 students on roll but the new building will be big enough to accommodate up to 1,200 students.
Contractor Willmott Dixon has now been appointed and work is due to start on site in January and be completed by September 2014.
Hans Price Academy principal Armando Di Finizio said: “These are really exciting times for the school.
“The current building is getting old and is not going to last much longer.
“This development will change the way that learning takes place and provide a building which is fit for the 21st century.”
The school’s sporting facilities – including a large all weather pitch and three further outdoor games area and sports hall – are already open to the community to use at evenings and weekends.
It is hoped, as part of the development, to be able to widen community use of the school site in the future.
The academy opened in May 2011 following the closure of Wyvern Community School, which was judged as failing.
Since it converted, the school has seen a major turnaround in its fortunes, with Ofsted inspectors saying it was making “good progress”.
This year the academy posted its best GCSE results ever with the number of students gaining five GCSE passes from A*-C including English and maths doubling from 23 per cent in 2011 to 44 per cent this year.