Students at Arnold Hill Academy have been getting a sneak peek at their brand new £14 million school building, which looks set to become the blueprint for new school builds around the country.
Arnold Hill is the first school to get the latest state-of the-art “super block” design – a 3-storey square building with a 4-court indoor sports hall and 380-person capacity theatre forming its centre and classrooms wrapped around.
Built by Wates Construction, the cutting edge building is being described as the first of a generation, and the government are now considering making it the recommended design for all new school building projects.
Pupils at the school were given their own tour inside the newly finished block, and there were gasps of delight as they explored its impressive facilities, which also include a dance studio, a recording studio, ICT rooms, food rooms and art rooms.
Annabelle Carter, aged 12, said: “Wow, it’s amazing. The dance studio is like you see on the films with all the mirrors, like a proper dance school. It’s great to have so much new equipment. We’re going to be buzzing coming to school now, knowing we can use all this.”
Viewing the drama facilities, 11 year-old Yuvneet Bains, exclaimed: “It’s awesome. It looks magical. I’m so looking forward to using this. You can be more expressive and creative in a space like this.”
And 12 year-old Noah Texier-Salter summed up the feelings of the excited students: “This will be a much better learning environment. I feel really proud to say this is my school.”
The 8000m2 building, which has been funded by the government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA), marks an exciting new era for the 1700 pupil school and it will also be a valuable resource for the local community.
Phil Crompton, Executive Head of Arnold Hill and CEO of The Trent Academies Group, which the school belongs to, said: “The facilities in this building are out of this world. It’s light and airy, a truly inspiring space. Every department will have bigger classrooms and more space to work in. It’s going to knit the school together and give it a real heart.”
Head of Academy, Matt Robertson, added: “This building is what our community deserves. I’m sure it will inspire students and staff and help us achieve in many different areas in the future.”
New outdoor sports facilities are also being created, including 2 football pitches, 2 rugby pitches and a 300m grass running track. The lower school building and sixth form centre remain but all three buildings are now closer together, reducing the walk from one site to another. Refurbishments to the lower school also form part of the project.
Lee Roberts, Facilities Manager at Arnold Hill, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the job Wates have done. The building has been finished bang on schedule and it’s attracting a lot of positive attention in construction and education circles. The EFA believe this super block design is the way forward and they look set to adopt it as their preferred school building model.”
The existing upper school and science blocks at Arnold Hill, which were built in 1959, are no longer fit for purpose and are now set for demolition.