New School Building FAQ
When is this all happening?
The first phase of work has begun and this is to construct the Sports and Arts Block. This is scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2019 with relevant departments (PE, Music and Art) moving in at the beginning of January 2020. This building will also contain the new school hall, dining hall and kitchen. Details for the Teaching Block will be released at a later date.
Who is paying for this building?
The building is being paid for by the Department for Education (DfE) through the Priority School Buildings Programme – Phase 2 (PSBP2). This is part of a £4.4 billion programme aimed at the schools in the worst condition across the country.
What will the school have to pay for?
The school does not need to contribute anything to the construction of the new building. There is also a list of non-building resources that are included as part of the programme, including a new Wi-Fi network, new telephone system and some furniture and equipment, such as that in the science laboratories. All required external landscaping is also included within the scheme.
Where possible, current furniture and equipment (termed ‘legacy’ by the DfE) will be moved from our current building, but there will be some that need to be replaced and some new items that will be required.
We would also like to use this as an opportunity to update equipment that is at the end of its serviceable life, most particularly with ICT, and to develop the resources and facilities available to our students. The school has some money put aside for this, but we will also be looking to raise more money in the coming year.
Will the school need to sell land to fund this?
No, the school has no plans to sell any of our land.
Will there be lots of noise during public examinations?
No, the contractors already have details of the summer 2019 examination timetable, and they will not undertake anything that is disruptive for those taking exams. The same will be true in 2020 and 2021.
Will cars/people be able to access the site as normal during the build?
Yes, the vehicle and pedestrian entrances will be in full use throughout. Galliford Try have formed a temporary access point through the Back Lane boundary wall opposite Cavendish Road. All construction and delivery vehicles will use this access point and there are strict rules about when they can and cannot enter the site. Someone from Galliford Try will be stationed at the front of the site entrance to control access. Galliford Try have constructed a temporary staff car park at the back of the Sixth Form common room as the Back Lane car park will be used for PE, breaks and fire assembly. Post-build we will have substantially more car parking spaces than we do now.
Will there be noise when work is undertaken?
In short, yes. There will be noise involved in both the construction of the new building and the demolition of the current one. We will, as far as is possible, work closely with Galliford Try to manage the impact of this.
Will students still have lockers?
Students will continue to have use of lockers. When the Sports and Arts Block is complete, it is our intention to locate the Year 7 lockers in that building. Then in the new Teaching Block, when it is complete, there will be sufficient lockers for all students in Key Stage 3 and 4.
Will the building have access for those with limited mobility?
Yes, post-build, and for the first time, someone with limited mobility or using a wheelchair will be able to access all parts of the school. The new buildings will each include a lift for access to all levels and accessible toilet facilities on all floors.
Are the classrooms/spaces the same size as those in our current school?
The majority of the new classrooms will be larger than those we currently have, especially the science labs and general teaching rooms. The school hall will be smaller but a bleacher seating system will make it logistically easier to use for assemblies and lessons. Having a separate dining hall will also ease the pressure on the use of the hall. All new teaching accommodation will meet the latest specifications (Building Bulletin 103) the DfE places on classroom size. There are similar strict requirements covering heating, cooling, ventilation, daylight and lighting in the DfE Output Specification.
What colour will the inside of the school be?
There are a number of areas yet to be decided, this is one of them. Others include the final look of outside spaces and outside shelter. Some of these areas are under the remit of the PSBP programme, others will be for the school to decide and fund. These are areas where student involvement will be important.
Will there be a danger from asbestos when the old building is demolished?
No, there will be no danger. It is true that when the majority of our buildings were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s asbestos was a commonly used material. We have an asbestos register that identifies all of the places where we know it is present, but contractors will need to check that there is not encapsulated asbestos in other places. Such asbestos does not pose any danger to users of the building now. This means that the process to demolish the current building, and the length of time that this will take is far longer and more complicated than in many schools. Specialist contractors will undertake a full survey of the building once we have left, identifying and removing all asbestos prior to demolition in line with the latest Removal of Asbestos Regulations. From the day that we leave the existing building and occupy the new ones, no access will be allowed back into the existing building.
Will lots of trees be cut down to build the new school?
Only a small number of trees need to be removed to make way for the buildings but these will be more than made up for when the external landscaping is done.
Will there be opportunities for students to be involved in the process?
Yes, both during the next planning and construction phases. We have started discussions with the DfE and Galliford Try about the format this could take; when we have more information we will pass this on. Both the construction and engineering industries would like to attract more women, and we will make as much educational use of this process as we can to show our students the possible careers available in these industries.
Will the new facilities be available for community use outside of school hours?
Yes. When construction is complete we will be able to take bookings for a number of the new spaces. We will be entering into a community use agreement with Leeds City Council to show our commitment to opening up our facilities to the public. Any use outside of school hours will create a revenue stream for the school, money that can then be spent to the benefit of our students and staff.