Headteacher’s relief as work starts on new £12 million academy building

County councillors Ray Wootten and Patricia Bradwell lead the turf-cutting ceremony. 876C
County councillors Ray Wootten and Patricia Bradwell lead the turf-cutting ceremony. 876C
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A ceremony was held at the Priory Ruskin Academy today (Jan 9) to mark the beginning of the £12 million project to build the new school.

Work began a few weeks ago on the new academy building which includes a main entrance and art gallery building, four teaching blocks and a specialist teaching block, as well as some demolition work.

Headteacher Clive Shepherd said: “It’s a huge relief to get started. The staff, students and the community are really buoyant and are looking forward to the main body of the school opening in February 2014.

“It is only 13 months away so it is very exciting.”

The project was initially planned for completion for the start of the 2013 academic year in September but delays have meant the main body of work will now be completed and pupils ready to be moved in after the February half term next year, although the full construction work is not expected to be finished until July 2014.

Part of the reason for the initial delay was caused by the project manager for the construction work being assigned to a different job.

The new project manager for construction firm Shepherds is John Butterfield.

Mr Butterfield said: “We have vast experience building schools - this is actually my fourth school project after building two in York and one in Morpeth.”

The academy is surrounded by houses and the main access for construction will be via Rushcliffe Road.

County councillor Ray Wootten has raised concerns in the past about the potential problems for people living in Rushcliffe Road and the surrounding area.

He said: “I’m disappointed they did not get access through Running Furrows (via Gonerby Road) as it would have made things much easier.

“But I’m pleased these issues are being taken into account and they are trying to clean the road every day.”

Both the school and Shepherd Construction say they aim to listen to the concerns of people living in the area throughout the build and say they will try to keep disruption to a minimum.

Mr Butterfield said: “We have set up coffee mornings where neighbours can come in and discuss with us any problems.

“We have had a few complaints, granted, but we have put those right.”

A regular site along Rushcliffe Road will be a road sweeping vehicle which will make regular trips along the road to keep the area clean.

Mr Shepherd said: “We are having regular meetings with the community to try to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.”