iomtoday was given a tour of St Ninian’s Lower School ahead of its opening.
The major work had been completed with the final unpacking to be carried out on Monday and Tuesday.
Upon entering through the glass doors, visitors come to the reception area, part of the hub.
There is a circle of offices, including offices for head teacher Andy Fox and deputy head Rob Cowley, a medical room, archive room and reprographics room.
The school hall, fitted with a hearing loop, will be used for assemblies, exams, and for performances, with a temporary stage.
Above the hall is a technical support, from where the sound and lighting can be controlled.
A remote camera connects the hall with the dance/drama studio, for performers waiting to go on stage.
The library, as well as stocking a range of books, features 15 computers, teaching space and quiet reading area.
It has been designed so from the librarian’s desk, it is possible to see everywhere.
The dining room can sit 300 students at a time. An adjacent outdoor seating area and a barbecue will be added.
The learning zone features 22 classrooms – compared to 23 in the whole of Park Road.
They are grouped in humanities (history, geography and RE), maths and ICT, and English and foreign languages. Every classroom is fitted with an interactive white board.
The ICT classroom has 100 computers, many of them new. Some 84 iPad 2s have also been bought for use across the school.
The science and technology zone includes five science labs, and rooms for craft, design and technology, food technology, art, ceramics and textiles.
Height-adjustable desks, cooker and sink have been installed.
High quality equipment, some of which was waiting to be unpacked, ranges from ice cream makers and sewing machines to a kiln.
The progress zone features the school’s special unit, for up to 10 students, and has its own access.
Facilities include a multisensory room, classroom space, a nurture/social area, soft room with padded walls and an outside soft area.
In the learning support area there is classroom space and a nurture room for students in mainstream education.
There is a hydrotherapy pool, with a hoist and light and sound system. It is believed to be the only one fitted in any school across the UK and Isle of Man.
The expressive arts zone covers drama and music.
It features four soundproof music practice rooms, and two music classrooms, in which a number of new keyboards have been installed.
At Park Road instruments were stored in the middle of the classroom – there is now a store for them.
The drama studio is a plain black box, designed so there is nothing to distract the audience from the performance.
There is also a drama/dance studio, with a sprung floor, and mirrors.
It is the same size as the Gaiety Theatre stage, so it is hoped to provide a practice area for groups due to perform there.
The sports facilities were designed taking into consideration the sporting facilities available across the whole of the eastern district.
There are two indoor sports halls, with markings for four badminton courts and five-a-side football, netball and volleyball.
Outside, there is a rugby pitch, four tennis/netball courts, a 3G all-weather pitch for hockey and football, and two football pitches, a cricket square and a 300m running track in the grass oval below the school.
The drainage on the grass area meant despite heavy rain recently it is still usable.
The road access to the school is via Hillberry Road. There are also three walkways, including from Birch Hill and Governor’s Hill, and a bike store.
Over the next 12 months, the school council plans to raise money to fit out the social zone, which would include a student-run tuck shop.
The new site at Bemahague replaces Park Road Lower School, click here to see a farewell tour of Park Road school.
In February 2011 we took a tour of the Bemahague school site during construction, click here to see a tour of the school build in progress.