CRUMBLING old classrooms in Winterbourne have seen their last day after being flattened in one fell swoop.
The dilapidated, 50-year-old blocks at Winterbourne International Academy are now a thing of the past having been demolished in the final phase of a £19million rebuilding project.
Construction work on the new academy, which includes a central open plan reception, two large halls, a new music department and sixth form area, was completed earlier this summer and students starting back this September will be taught in the brand new, modern classrooms.
The new buildings, prioritised under the government’s school rebuilding scheme because of Winterbourne’s academy status, were erected just metres away from the old classrooms representing a challenge for contractors BAM Construction.
Project manager Rob Shipp said: “The project was always going to be extremely challenging, to construct a new three-storey building in the middle of a live academy campus just a couple of meters off the face of the existing buildings is a logistical test.
“A lot of careful planning and sequencing was required to ensure it was a success and BAM managed to complete the new build on time. Academy staff have moved in and are looking forward to teaching for the first time in the new building at the beginning of the new school year.
“BAM has now moved straight into the third and final phase of the project and has begun demolishing the old school building to clear the space for the new playground areas and new car park. BAM are due to complete at Christmas 2014.”
Principal Rob Evans said the move into the new classrooms, which staff finished in a week at the beginning of the summer holidays, spelled an exciting time for the academy, which was known as The Ridings’ High School until it became part of a Pathfinder academy scheme with Yate International Academy in 2009.
"The completion of phase two represents an exciting stage in the academy’s development,” he said.
“When the students and staff return in September they will be entering a first class learning environment with excellent facilities, which will no doubt result in a further increase in standards across the academy.
“Students and staff will also benefit from significantly improved recreational facilities. The work was completed to schedule and on budget and stage three has already commenced which involves predominantly the landscaping and demolition of the old buildings."
The academy has just celebrated some of its best ever A-level results as well as an impressive set of International Baccalaureate marks.
Year 8 student Callum Phillips, 12, has already toured the new buildings.
He said: “Having now seen the new build, I am excited about the start of term and think the new facilities and technology will help me learn better. There is more space too. In the old corridors there wasn't much room but now it is much more spacious."
An open evening is being held on October 2 for people to look round the new buildings and there will be two open mornings for prospective parents and two for existing parents.