Planning permission is being sought for a new primary school on part of the former Noble’s Hospital site in Westmoreland Road, Douglas.
The £9.8m Henry Bloom Noble Primary School will be an all-through primary school on a single site, replacing the ageing Ballacloan Infants’ School and Fairfield Junior School buildings in Demesne Road and Tynwald Street respectively, which have restricted footprints and are not suitable for redevelopment.
The two schools are, from this term, known by the new name and come under a single headship – becoming the last of the former infant and junior schools to merge as primaries.
The move to a new building would complete the transition for pupils and staff, said Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children.
Parents and the wider community had the chance to shape the plans when they went on display at Fairfield Junior last summer.
The new school is to be two-form entry, with 14 classrooms. The scheme includes a special needs unit. There will be excellent sporting facilities for school and community use, with a two-court, multi-purpose sports hall and changing facilities. External features will include hard play areas, an artificial sports pitch and a grass pitch.
With Tynwald’s approval, work has already taken place to partially clear the site. A ward block is being retained and would be converted to form part of the new school, providing classroom accommodation over two levels.
Subject to planning permission and further Tynwald agreement being obtained, it is hoped the school will open in September 2016, the Minister said.
‘This is a significant investment in education for that part of Douglas and will replace two ageing schools that have limited facilities and no opportunity for expansion, because of their location, with a building that offers 21st century opportunities for indoor and outdoor learning,’
said the Minister.
Meanwhile, work is progressing well on the Department’s other ‘live’ capital schemes, the Minister reported.
At Ballakermeen High School, the three-storey post-16 and dining extension that’s under construction is now watertight and internal work such as mechanical and electrical installations, plastering and joinery are continuing apace.
All is on schedule for the school’s use of the enlarged sixth form accommodation from September, with occupation of the new dining area and improved kitchen facilities from October half-term.
At the old water treatment works site on Greenfield Road, Douglas, phase one of a two-part, £4.9 million, project to create modern engineering and construction craft facilities for students of the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education is taking shape.
Tynwald approved the William Kennish Building development – named after the Manx inventor and marine engineer – in December 2013. The site will house improved engineering and motor vehicle facilities, allowing the College to offer additional courses and support growing industries on the Isle of Man.
The project got off to a difficult start, with the construction of the pipe bridge over Manx Utilities Authority’s critical services mains being undertaken in the start of the year’s poor weather conditions.
With the successful completion of the services bridge and the opening up of the site, work has progressed well in improved weather, with the steel frame erection of the motor vehicle workshop and the engineering hall extension now complete, floors in place and envelope works progressing.
All is currently on schedule for students to occupy the new facilities from September, said the Minister.
Phase two of the scheme would, with Tynwald approval, then see the creation of improved facilities for construction crafts, utilising the space in the main College building vacated by engineering students.
‘It’s vital we support industry by ensuring students have access to the most up to date learning facilities and the best training we can provide,’
said the Minister.