WORK has begun on a multi-million- pound improvement scheme at a Chester secondary school.
Builders are on site at Chester Catholic High in Handbridge and have started work on the facelift, which will cost about £4m.
The project, which is scheduled to be completed by next November, will include a new sixth-form block at the east side of the school, two science laboratories and an extension at the front providing a new reception and improved facilities for staff and visitors.
Strategic business manager Stephen Gauller explained what the improvements will offer students at the specialist science college: “The project will allow the school to serve pupils’ individual needs, to become truly comprehensive in the sixth form and to increase its inclusiveness.
“At present some science teaching has to be delivered outside specialist science laboratories. These new labs and an improved preparation room will improve science provision greatly and ensure better curriculum delivery.
“The block will also include a performing arts centre with a 180 seat auditorium, state-of-the art sound and lighting and specialist music teaching rooms.
“ICT will also be enormously enhanced by the sixth-form ICT resource centre and the creation of two new ICT rooms.”
He added: “Vocational courses will be expanded by the new specialist classrooms which will be important in broadening the ability range of the sixth form in the foundation and intermediate vocational courses.”
The new build will be eco-friendly with a rainwater harvesting system and 30m² of solar heating panels. “We will be able to harvest the rainwater to use for things like flushing the loos,” said Mr Gauller.
The school has been awarded Government grants of £3.7m with a further £400,000 required from fundraising through the East Appeal.
The official groundbreaking ceremony was attended by headteacher John Murray, Bishop of Shrewsbury the Rt Rev Brian Noble and Chester MP Christine Russell.
If you would like to make a donation to the Chester Catholic High School East Appeal, telephone 01244 981611