A PIONEERING high school that will bring education in Ellesmere Port into the 21st century is taking shape.
The University Church of England Academy, currently on two sites in the town, will merge into one bright and spacious building that will cater for 1,000 pupils.
Funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the school will open to students at the start of November.
During a tour of the site, the project’s chief architect Mark Braund said: “We’ve built a piazza open to the community rather than sitting it behind fences.”
Inside the pale-brown brick and glass building there are none of the narrow corridors and stuffy classrooms of yesteryear. It is built for passive supervision – so staff can keep an eye on students from afar.
Instead, there is a huge central hub, nicknamed ‘The Street’, that will greet students, teachers and visitors as they enter the main doors.
Principal Kevin McDermott said: “The location is iconic and can be a learning opportunity for the whole community.”
On the wall 11 60in television screens will join together to form one huge space to screen students’ work.
The whole building is built around a central landscaped courtyard and includes a 330-seat surround sound cinema and 550-seat theatre, a six court sports hall with 10-metre climbing wall and trampoline rigs and a fitness suite.
At the entrance, a community cafe will greet all who enter while a sound recording studio, TV studio with green screen, ‘crime scene investigation’ room and egg-shaped teaching pods can all be found inside.
Outside there is a wildlife area and pond, an amphitheatre with tiered-seating, a reflection room, a full-size third generation floodlit AstroTurf football pitch and an athletics track.
There is also an ICT suite with £2.5m worth of equipment.
Year 7 and 8 will have a separate area so they do not have to mix with the older pupils
Year 10 pupil Chloe Midghall said: “We will have the greatest opportunities and guidance to a bright future.”
Mr McDermott added: “When we go in in October half-term we’re ready to go in and start learning. Underpinning all of this will be outstanding learning and the staff will make sure they deliver it.”