Builders begin work on Ely College’s new science block

WORK on Ely College’s new �2.5million science block got under way this week, with contractors moving onto the site from Monday.

Much of the college’s car park and that of the neighbouring sixth-form building have been fenced off to allow builders to begin unhindered, with work expected to be completed in the spring.

The work will enable the college to vacate the upper floors of the Needham’s Tower, which the college says is no longer suitable for use, and convert it into a new two-storey science block, housing 12 new laboratories.

Existing science rooms on the site will also be converted into classrooms as part of the multi-million pound investment.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, said: “Arrangements have been put in place to ensure that during the construction period there is no risk to our students or any visitors to the site.

“The entire construction site will be securely fenced to avoid access from anyone other than authorised personnel. The most significant disruption will be to the main school and sixth form car parks.”

The college says the bid, which was approved by the Department for Education back in July, is the first phase of an ambitious long term development plan that could see the school’s entire stock of buildings replaced over the next 10 years.

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It comes just three years after �5.5m was allocated to the college by the Local Authority to fund the replacement of Needham’s Tower, only to be withdrawn at the last minute due to funding cuts.

The colleges says the plan is ambitious in scope but also realistic in terms of the availability of public funds, taking account of Ely’s predicted population growth, and the proposed development of a new secondary school in Littleport.