The construction of a new primary school building in the heart of Douglas is progressing well.
The £9.5 million Henry Bloom Noble Primary School will open in September 2016 on part of the site of the former Noble’s Hospital in Westmoreland Road.
It will replace the ageing and cramped former Ballacloan Infants and Fairfield Juniors’ buildings, which are both well over 100 years old and are reaching the end of their life.
A year ago, the two schools became a single primary school under the Henry Bloom Noble name, taking children aged four to 11, and the move to a single new building will complete the transition.
Tynwald approved the construction of the new building in December and work started in January.
Today, Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, the Department’s political Members and Ronald Barr, Chief Executive Officer, were given a tour of the site and updated on progress by Richard Collister, Estates Director with the Department of Education and Children, and John Corteen, Site Manager for the main contractor Tooms.
The school will have 14 classrooms, a special needs unit and sports facilities for school and community use, something lacking at the existing school. These will include a multi-purpose sports hall and, outdoors, hard play areas and artificial and grass pitches.
The Minister heard that the stripping and part-demolition of the former Noble’s Hospital ward block – being retained and converted into classrooms – has progressed well.
Groundworks have advanced on programme across the 4.3 acre site.
A drainage tank that is roughly half the volume of an Olympic swimming pool has been installed to store surface water run-off from the site and control the discharge into the sewerage system to a rate of 12.5 litres per second.
In the next major phase of the work, foundations will be excavated and constructed, enabling the erection of steelwork that will be the frame of the ‘new’ sections of the school.
Staff from Tooms have visited the existing school and briefed children on the dangers of construction sites and the need to stay away – a message that’s particularly important over the holiday period.
The Minister said: ‘This new school represents a significant investment in the education of our children and it is fascinating to see the progress that’s been made to date. What is now a building site is being transformed into a school that will truly meet the modern-day needs of education as well as serve the community.’