TYNWALD will be asked to approve £3m spending on improvements to Victoria Road Primary School in Castletown, which will include disabled access throughout the school.
The Department of Education and Children (DEC) has planning permission for an extension, which will incorporate two classrooms, a multi-purpose hall with changing facilities and storage for sports equipment, a community room and a new caretaker’s office and store.
It also plans to enhance the existing school building, improve kitchen and dining facilities, converting the existing hall into a classroom and a separate library, improving other classrooms, and ensuring disabled access throughout the school with the installation of lifts at the main entrance and to the first floor.
The improvements will include a collection and drop-off area for parents will be created in front of the school and the staff car park relocated, easing congestion problems before and after school.
Tynwald will be asked to approve the spending when it sits next month, it has already approved pre-contract and enabling expenditure of £260,000 and Peter Karran MHK, Minister for Education and Children, will therefore seek Tynwald’s approval for the £2,979,000 necessary to complete the improvements. The approved ‘Pink Book’ Budget provision is £3,354,200 so the department says the scheme is actually £115,200 under the approved capital budget.
Richard Collister, estates director for the DEC, said: ‘The school hall is antiquated, being of inadequate size and height, and so has become increasingly unsuitable for current curriculum needs.
‘The school is set out over several levels, making modifications necessary to comply with forthcoming disabled access legislation. The existing staff parking area at the front of the school is inadequate.
‘There is no dedicated parents’ drop-off area, meaning there is significant congestion along Victoria Road at the start and end of the school day, causing a safety concern.’
He added: ‘The school roll is growing and, with housing development ongoing in the town, and likely to follow on from approval of the Southern Area Plan, there is a need to provide extra classroom capacity, too.’
The plans will remove the need for the mobile classroom that houses the current nursery, providing extra space in the main building, although any nursery provision is set to be private from September.
Work would start in May and be completed by the summer of 2013.