Winterbourne International Academy welcomes demolition of old buildings ahead of new £19million government-funded classrooms
A MAJOR milestone in the redevelopment of Winterbourne International Academy has been reached after demolition workers began knocking down dilapidated old buildings.
A group of specially-selected students were invited to watch as diggers and bulldozers began tearing down a 50-year-old gymnasium, main hall and several classrooms, which were among the first buildings to be demolished during a ceremony on Thursday (March 7).
A new £19.3million academy is being created adjacent to the old classrooms and will be ready for pupils by September 2014.
Rob Shipp, project manager for BAM Construct UK which is building the new academy, said: “We have been on site since Christmas and everything is going really well.
“It is all on programme and we are due to finish the build by June 2013 and will then spend the summer knocking down the rest of the old buildings.”
Mr Shipp said the build would take place in three phases. Phase one, the completion of an existing technology block, was now complete and phase two, the main build, was now underway and phase three, the demolition, would follow.
He added: “One of the biggest challenges has been working in such close proximity to the existing school but we have re-routed the students and so far it has been really good.”
To cause minimum disruption to students, BAM will use a fast-track building system including pre-cast floors and stairs which can be fitted easily and quickly.
Currently there are 30 workers on the site but at the peak of the build in June and July there will be around 150 at any one time.
Dr Rob Gibson, chief executive principal of The Ridings’ Federation of Academies which also includes Yate International Academy, told the Gazette: “It is very exciting. We are very fortunate to have received £19.3million and we are going to make the most of it for the benefit of students and the academy.
“We have a very tight site with 1,900 students yet the way it has been organised has enabled us to keep the academy running as normal.”
The new academy will incorporate flexible learning and teaching spaces with an open core area and two large halls. There will be a new music department, a new technology and multi-material facility, a dedicated sixth form area and numerous social areas.
Added Dr Gibson: “Against the backdrop of our continuing outstanding results, we will now have an outstanding building as well.”