A ceremony has taken place to mark the official opening of a new classroom block at Biggleswade Academy.
Pupils have already been using the new three-classroom block as it was officially handed over to the school last month.
But on Wednesday, December 14, there was a celebration of how children have already been making the most of their new surroundings and a chance for guests to look around the bright and colourful new building and surrounding play area.
The project was backed and part-funded by Central Bedfordshire Council with planning permission granted in January 2016.
The eye-catching new block, with a zinc-coloured barrel-shaped roof, was designed by PCMS Design and built by Neville Special Projects of Luton on the site of a disused outdoor swimming pool and a mobile classroom.
As well as being used by pupils from Biggleswade Academy, the classroom block is also used by children from nearby Ivel Valley School.
With this in mind, it has been kitted out with extra features including a changing/shower room with floor hoist, while acoustic walls and ceiling panels help to absorb excess noise.
Shelley Flynn, principal of Biggleswade Academy, said: “Not only are we delighted with the new, state-of-the-art classroom block, but this additional space also provides a wonderful opportunity to further extend the academy’s close working relationship with children and staff of Ivel Valley School.”
Julie Mudd, headteacher of Ivel Valley School, said: “We are excited by the facilities this new build provides that will enhance opportunities for our pupils and also build on our close working relationship with Biggleswade Academy.”
Cllr David Bowater, chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “It was great to hear and see pupils already thriving in their new surroundings - the children didn’t stop smiling and were obviously enjoying life. The new building is a complete contrast to what was there and I hope that it will benefit both mainstream and pupils with special educational needs for many years to come.”
Further work is planned at the school’s Kitelands Road site following the council’s executive’s decision to grant approval to create an extra 300 lower school places in Biggleswade.
Work will take place to create 150 additional places at each of Biggleswade Academy and St Andrew’s CofE VC Lower School’s Bantock Way campus, subject to planning approval being granted.
If it is, then work is will be scheduled to begin in time for the first new reception classes at each school – each offering 30 places – to open in September 2017 with the extra pupils joining over a phased five-year period.