Redevelopment plans gathering pace at Ely College

ELY College is moving on to the next phase of its multi-million pound redevelopment, with plans lodged for a new main entrance and teaching block.

The college began work on a new �2.5million science block back in November but progress is continuing apace, with new plans lodged for improved and expanded teaching facilities and an �8million bid to Government for the next two phases of its 2020 redevelopment plans.

The proposal - which would see the development of a new entrance area, performing arts centre, dining hall, sixth form and extended sports facilities, along with new classrooms for business, ICT, media and art - were lodged with the Government’s Academies Capital Maintenance Fund.

The bid addresses current and forecast shortfalls in classroom space in key subjects, and also in core services like the dining room, which is currently served by facilities designed in 1969 for a school of only 450.

Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, orincipal at the college said: “These next phases of our rolling capital renewal programme are critical parts of our longer-term plan to transform the school site and make it a more appropriate environment for the provision of education in the 21st Century.

“The bid also enables us to expand our facilities to meet the local authority’s forecasts of an imminent increase in 11-19 age students in our catchment, and to cater for more of Ely’s young people, including those currently passing through the city’s expanding primary schools.”

The college is being supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, which has pledged �2m towards the total project cost if the Government approve the bid, reducing its commitment to �6m.

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A combination of population growth and proposed housing development within the college’s catchment area means that there could be a need for an additional 300 secondary school places by 2020, including some from Littleport who will need a place before the new Littleport secondary school opens in 2017.