The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Graham Cregeen MHK, will seek approval for £3.6 million in funding to extend and refurbish St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, when Tynwald sits later this month.
Plans for the refurbishment and extension of the popular Douglas school were first unveiled in May last year, with pupils, parents and the public invited to comment on proposals.
The works are required due to the age of the building and strong demand for places at the school. Three mobiles classrooms are used at the site to accommodate the current school roll.
The proposal would see five new classrooms added to the school along with an extension to the multipurpose school hall and two existing classrooms.
Built to accommodate the sloping nature of the site, St Mary’s has significant changes in floor levels throughout the building. Two internal lifts would be installed to provide disabled access across the entire school, and additional disabled toilets provided.
Designed in a distinct but now dated and tired 1960’s architectural style, the building would be completely re-clad to improve thermal efficiency and to modernise its appearance, creating a more contemporary and visually appealing environment. It would also mean the original and new parts of the building match architecturally, using materials specifically selected to blend with the school’s surroundings.
The roof covering would also be replaced along with all external windows and doors.
Minister Cregeen said:
'This funding, if approved, would represent a major investment in primary education in the Island’s capital.
'St Mary’s is a popular school with a strong track record, and the demand has been accommodated for a long time through the use of the mobile classrooms to supplement the permanent class-bases. We need to provide new additional permanent capacity at the school, so that these mobiles can be removed.
'The Isle of Man Government has a proud history of investing in the Island’s education facilities. A school is much more than its bricks and mortar, but its design plays an important role in the quality of children’s learning experience.
'The refurbishment and extensions would create a modern, inclusive teaching and learning environment, enabling the school to continue to provide primary education for many years to come at this site.'
Planning permission for the alterations was granted in July 2017. It is hoped work will commence later this month, with completion by August 2019.