Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Pupils start learning at Cumbria's new £26.2m academy school

Students have been welcomed into their new hi-tech building in Egremont.

Vanessa Ray photo
Vanessa Ray

The children returned to the West Lakes Academy yesterday where they were given a tour of the new building which has cost around £26.2 million to build and furnish.

A host of hi-tech facilities are now available for students to use, including a new cashless catering system.

This allows students to pay for food and snacks electronically rather than with money.

The system means that parents can also view online what their children have bought at mealtimes.

Principal Vanessa Ray said: “The students have been excellent – they were very orderly and very patient.”

Work was completed by staff over the last two weeks, while students have been taking their Easter holidays, to ensure the new build was up-and-running in time.

Mrs Ray said: “The staff came in during the holidays, they had two training days last week and went through the fire drills. There was a tremendous amount of goodwill.

“We are so pleased that the building is ready. There was some doubt 18 months ago if we would be finished on time. The work was actually finished one week early.”

She said: “I think of one of our aims was to have a smoothest transition as possible.

“Students will be taking their GCSEs and A-levels soon, so it was crucial that we hit the ground running.”

Mrs Ray said: “We did a huge amount of planning beforehand, with the help and support of Kier Construction.”

Further changes are set to take place in the coming months. Mrs Ray said demolition work is likely to take place over the academy’s summer holidays to prevent any disruptions for students during the upcoming exam periods.

Work to build tennis courts and multi-use games areas for students will also be taking place.

The overall project has been funded by a Government capital grant of £26.2m which covered the costs of design and construction, furniture, ICT installations and equipment.

Cumbria County Council has contributed funding to the project and is responsible for the procurement and provision of the new academy and also provided £500,000 and £130,000 for the new youth and library facilities.



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