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Plans to make Bishop Auckland school and sixth form fit for 21st century
PLANS to rebuild a Bishop Auckland secondary school and sixth form under a Government funding initiative have been drawn up.
The renovation of King James I Academy aims to replace existing facilities that are no longer fit for purpose with a building that meets the 21st century needs of students and the wider community.
The proposal put forward to Durham County Council is to build a 950 place two-storey school on playing fields, then demolish the existing 1976 building to create sports pitches.
The scheme includes the alteration and refurbishment of the Grade II listed middle school building and dining hall- a former girls’ grammar school built in 1910- which will also require listed building and conservation area consent.
King James I Academy is one of 27 schools across the North-East, Yorkshire and Humberside told last year they would receive cash from a £2.4bn priority school building programme.
The Department for Education has awarded a £64m contract for the first six of those schools to Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, and made a direct grant to fast track the work at King James I as it is in urgent need of improvements.
A statement submitted to planning officers by Newcastle-based Space Architecture, which worked with the school, user groups and the Education Funding Agency to design the new school, outlines the desire to ‘provide a learning environment that is completely different from what it is now’.
“King James I Academy is a high achieving school that aspires to be outstanding.
“Our vision for the students of the academy is to provide a learning environment fit for 21st century learning, one that is safe, secure, stimulating, a centre of excellence, enterprise, innovation and enjoyment,” it says.
The new building will be split into two zones, one primarily for teaching and one for community use and large group activities, and feature a central street space with access to social, community and dining spaces and classrooms.
Outdoor facilities will include landscaped space for pupils, habitat areas for outdoor learning, a multi use games area, all weather pitch and grassed pitches for summer and winter games.
The main access will continue to be off South Church Road, a secure and covered bike park will be created and onsite parking will almost double.
Consultation is ongoing and it is not yet known when the planning application will be considered.
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