Works starts on south Manchester schools

Building work has started on the site of two new schools that will replace the current Levenshulme High School and Acacias Community Primary School in south Manchester.

The £23.7m project will see the two adjacent schools redeveloped on a combined 610,000 sq ft site on Crossley Road and Alexandra Drive that will be home to a brand new primary school for 420 pupils, one hundred more than it currently has attending.

Laing O'Rourke has been appointed to carry out the building work and the architects for the project is Ellis Williams.

A nursery for 60 children is also planned, increasing its capacity by fifteen which it currently holds, and a part refurbished and part new high school for girls aged between 11 and 16 is also planned, which will hold 1,000 pupils.

Acacias Community Primary will be completely rebuilt, while approximately half of Levenshulme High will be refurbished and half rebuilt. The building work is expected to be completed by early 2012.

The council said it is only the second time in Manchester that the Building Schools for the Future programme and Primary Capital Programme have been brought together.

Although the two schools will be separate buildings they will be joined by a shared kitchen and dining area, with the opportunity to share further facilities. The façade of the current high school dates back to the 1920s and will be retained and enhanced.

Both schools will offer community facilities including an all weather sports pitch and a new grass pitch.

Cllr Sheila Newman, executive member for children's services at Manchester City Council, said: "This is a terrific opportunity to rebuild and refurbish two schools with state of the art facilities. It will transform the way children learn and ensure their 21st century buildings are also delivering a fit for the future 21st century education."

The Building Schools for the Future programme is part of the Government's aim to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in England.

In Manchester, there is a combined Building Schools for the Future and Academies programme with a £500m capital investment to rebuild or refurbish 33 secondary schools, seven of which will be specialist academies.

The Government has committed to providing additional capital funding for primary schools from 2009 through its Primary Capital Programme.

The Primary Capital Programme is a national investment scheme that aims to ensure that all pupils are taught in quality school environments that facilitate personalised learning and enable them to offer a wide range of services to their local communities.

Allocations will be made annually to local authorities over a fifteen year period which aim at 'transforming' education in community, voluntary controlled and voluntary aided schools. Local authorities will be responsible for managing Primary Capital Programme funds, even when used on projects involving voluntary aided schools.

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