Underfloor heating, interactive whiteboards and extra wide corridors are all features of a new £9 million state-of-the-art building project recently completed at a Derby secondary school.
Pupils from Murray Park School, celebrating a non-uniform day, have been given their first look inside the building which also has a large reception area, 15 classrooms, a library and new offices for the head teacher and administration staff.
The completion of the building at the Mickleover school, which will be used for maths and English lessons in September, brings a three-year renovation project at the school to a conclusion.
As well as the new block, the food technology department has been completely refurbished with new appliances, as has the modern foreign languages department and a brand-new school kitchen.
The expansion project will allow the school to increase pupil capacity from 1,100 to 1,650 across years seven to 11, with an annual admission of 330 pupils every year.
The higher admission numbers will move through the school gradually year by year. Additional pupils are expected to attend from nearby housing projects such as Hackwood Farm.
The pupils, who have named the block Maple Park Centre, agreed that the building had been well worth the wait.
Onkar Johal, 12, said: “I really enjoyed finally having a look around the school and I think everyone has done a great job, because it looks as if it has always been here.
“Inside everywhere smells new and I think it will really encourage students to look after the building and treat it with respect.
Education and schools stories
“I’m really looking forward to using it and it’s good that it’s going to be the English and maths block – because that means everyone gets to use it.”
Aisha Basharat, also 12, said: “I have been really keen to look round for ages and now I finally have I can’t actually believe that this is our school – it’s such a lovely building.
“The school has been a building site ever since I started here and so it will be amazing to come back in September and there won’t be workmen and diggers everywhere.
“I will definitely be having English classes in the new block and hopefully drama will be in there too. I can’t wait.”
And 12-year-old Joshua Woodcock added: “I am head library monitor and I’m really excited about being in the new library. The window didn’t open in the old one, and so on hot days it wasn’t very nice.
“This new library is great, it’s going to have plenty of space and I think it will be a good place to come and do homework too.”
The two-storey building has water fountains on both floors, brand new furniture throughout and the toilets, which are separate for girls and boys, are open plan.
The new building means the school reception area is at the front of the building, which is better for safeguarding, and the work means there is now a separate entrance to The Bridge – a building where children with additional needs such as anxiety, or behavioural or learning difficulties, can be taught in smaller groups.
The work was carried out by Wates Construction which began with the rerouting of utility services and the underground drainage to ensure against flooding in the local area.
An old caretaker’s cottage was demolished as part of the works, as well as an old chimney and a portable building.
Head teacher Nicola Caley said: “We are absolutely delighted that all the construction work has now been completed and the school is totally fit for 21st century teaching.
“Our pupils are excited about the prospect of experiencing learning in an inspiring environment with the latest technology.
“Maple Park Centre is a really professional learning environment and feels less like a school and more like a modern work-place, preparing students for university and future employment.
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“It is a real investment in the children and shows them how much we value their education. The environment lends itself to learning and there is a clear appreciation of what they have in terms of facilities.
“The last three years have been a transitionary period for Murray Park, with new buildings, renovation work and a new head teacher. We are looking forward to the next three years where we can build on the very solid school foundations we now have firmly in place.”
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