Published: 06:00, 20 November 2020
New photographs show how work is progressing at a city school’s £20 million state-of-the-art new teaching block - which is on track to be completed by January - despite covid challenges.
The state-of-the-art new teaching block and sports hall is being constructed at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Old Dover Road, Canterbury.
After an inspection of its buildings in 2017 uncovered more than 600 defects, with parts in “significant levels of disrepair”, the school was granted permission to replace dilapidated buildings dating back to the 1950s with a modernised new-build.
Construction work began on the building - which is being erected on part of the existing visitor car park, the playground and part of the playing field - in August last year.
The new three-storey teaching block is still on track to be completed by the end of the year, paving the way for the demolition of the old school to begin, and for pupils to move into the building in January.
Clive Kraus, senior project manager at construction firm Kier, said: “This project has come with challenges, including adverse weather conditions last year and the Covid-19 lockdown since March, which has meant we have had to work under social distancing guidelines.
“However, the Kier team and our supply chain have worked tirelessly to overcome these difficulties to get to this stage and we look forward to handing the school over.”
The new block will house 46 new teaching spaces, including specialist science labs, a drama studio, design engineering workshops, art rooms, a food technology room, and computer science suites.
It will also feature a new hall, canteen, school kitchen, multi-use games area, a range of support and pastoral offices and facilities, and full disability access.
The school’s deputy head, Paul Pollard said: “Our sixth form will have a very large new common room and separate study areas, whilst a new library will provide the space for the 14,000 books and resources we current hold.
“Rooms throughout the whole school will be equipped with new interactive LED boards, helping to develop further our approach to blended learning. It’s all very exciting!”
It is thought kitting out the new building will cost about £250,000. Most of this will come from funding set aside by the school, along with grants from Kent County Council.
But the school has also launched a fundraising drive to help replace its “ageing stock” of furniture and develop outside areas. So far, parents and alumni have donated an impressive £11,000 - which has helped buy items including a new bike shed and PE equipment.
Mr Pollard says social distancing measures will be unchanged by the transition to the new building.
“We will continue with the same steps taken to ‘bubble’ the students in the current building, so in that sense there is no change to social distancing,” he said.
“Pupils will leave here in December, and then return into the new building in January. It should all be relatively straightforward.”