We have lift-off’ as college takes shape

Work on the new sixth form college at The Commonweal School is proceeding full steam ahead as lorries carrying building components swept on-site yesterday.

McAvoy Group, began delivering sections of the new complex to the school on Friday, with cranes yesterday starting to position the modules. Today is expected to be the last day for deliveries at the school. The three-storey building will be made up of 38 sections, which have been pre-built in Northern Ireland and transported over, ready to be locked together on-site. The speed of the construction process has allowed assistant headteacher James Matcham to put an ambitious May deadline in place for completion.  “This is now full steam ahead ready for opening our doors in September,” he said.

“Most sixth forms work within the main school. Our classrooms are all in the college site. This has all the benefits in terms of community and social and academic expectations. There is going to be a very college feel about it.

“The McAvoy Group has been putting things up pretty quickly so far. They have made all their deadlines. It’s what they specialise in.”

As a part of the school’s agreement with the Education Funding Agency, McAvoy were chosen as the main contractor, although the school has collaborated heavily with the Northern Irish firm, in order to get the result it wants.

“From the very beginning of the design process, as a school we have been very involved,” said James.

Steel frames are already in place on the site and ready for the addition of the three-metre blocks being delivered by the contractor. As well as the college, which is due to open next September, a sports hall and car park are also being built.

The sixth form building will be three storeys with places for 300 students when full. There will also be a sports hall, outdoor sports facilities and the car park will be relocated and expanded to 80 spaces.

In total, the overall floor space of the sixth form building will be 2,122 square metres with learning areas, a performance hall and a cafe while the sports hall will cover two tennis courts and changing rooms.

“We have already had 150 applications, but we are due to open up to more applications in the coming future,” said Mr Matcham.

“There will be another open evening on May 6 for people to come and view the finished site for the first time.”