Pupils and staff at Workington Academy closed the doors at their old school building for the last time before the half term break and have now moved into their brand new state-of-the-art academy building.
Built as part of the government’s Priority Schools Building Programme by Sir Robert McAlpine, the £16.5m structure, which has been constructed alongside the existing school, has space for 1200 students and includes two three storey wings and a two-storey section. The existing sports hall is to be refurbished and linked to the new building.
On the first day, students were given a tour of the building to allow them to discover the areas and layout of the school and importantly how to find the best ways to get to their lessons. Instruction sessions to explain how the new catering and other systems will work have also taken place.
The 93,000 sq ft building benefits from an innovative design with multi-use spaces, up-to-date equipment and technology in spacious classrooms, enhanced dining facilities, a dance studio, theatre space and gym.
Collette Macklin, Interim Headteacher, said: “The move marks another milestone in the development of Workington Academy. Students and staff are tremendously excited and we feel incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful new school. Its striking design, which provides an impressive landmark will be a focal point locally and a place where the children of Workington can build their knowledge and aspirations for generations to come. This fantastic new facility will bring improvements not just for the way education is delivered but for the whole community”.
Lorrayne Hughes, CEO at Cumbria Education Trust added: “This is an exciting and memorable time for everyone. Just two years ago we were looking at architect’s drawings and now we have the reality of our new building which we have seen rising out of the ground into this wonderful facility. We were fortunate that during the design phase we were able to incorporate specific variations to the standard design style and there is no doubt that the range of facilities and modern technology will provide students with a great place to learn and a platform from which they will enjoy rich learning experiences and prepare them to meet future challenges.”
Preliminary work to demolish the old building will begin once the children are settled into the new building. Following demolition, the grounds will be landscaped.
The move into the new building coincides with another development within the Trust which sponsors Workington Academy. Exciting plans and an ambitious strategy for ongoing development and growth has led trustees of the William Howard Trust to rethink its positioning and a new name to more accurately reflect a more outward looking approach and provide the Trust with a geographical identity has been agreed. The Trust has formally changed its name to the Cumbria Education Trust.
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