Work has begun on a transformation project which will provide additional places at Sandy Secondary School and more facilities for pupils, as part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s New School Places Programme.
With a current capacity of 1,175 pupils, the construction of a new teaching block and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) block will ensure the school can accommodate up to 1,440 pupils when the work completes in the winter of next year.
A new floodlit 3G all-weather sports pitch will also be built while the existing school building will be refurbished.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Sandy Secondary’s Engayne Avenue site on Tuesday (February 28) to officially mark the start of the construction stage with invited guests joining staff, pupils and representatives from the Council, Ashe Construction, and Concertus Design & Property Consultants Ltd to mark the occasion.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, Cllr Sue Clark, said: “We are delighted that work has begun on this exciting transformation project for Sandy Secondary School, which is aimed at helping improve the education of young people in the area by offering more facilities for the pupils, whilst increasing specialist learning spaces to meet the changing demands of the curriculum.
“Sandy is becoming increasingly popular with families as a place to live and our New School Places programme is about creating additional places in areas of demand so that children and young people can go to a local school on their doorstep, while the all-weather pitch will help to increase the availability of sports to the local community.”
Sandy Secondary School Executive Principal, Karen Hayward, said: “Increasing student numbers and our transformation to a full secondary school in 2019 has meant that we have outgrown our current buildings. The school site has had little investment over the past decades and the accommodation and infrastructure has presented significant challenges to our aim to deliver first-class education.
“Our vision, to improve the life chances and opportunities afforded to our students, remains unchanged. We are very much looking forward to being equipped with high-quality state-of-the-art facilities to match the aspirations and ambition that we hold for each and every person within our community.”
Andrew Morris, Business Development Director at Ashe, said: “As a specialist in the education sector we are really pleased to be helping Central Bedfordshire Council create more capacity for local families whilst transforming the current school buildings to make them fit for modern learning.
“Our project team is really looking forward to working closely with staff and students and the local community to provide a fantastic new school. As with all our projects, we are committed to using local suppliers and engaging the services of local small to medium size businesses where possible.
“We’ll also welcome pupils and staff to our site tours and teach them about the construction process to show what great careers there are available in our industry.”
Nathan Vince, Principal Architectural Designer at Concertus, said: “We have worked closely with the school and Central Bedfordshire Council over the past three years to enable the transformation of Sandy Secondary School to take place.
“The introduction of a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) unit, changing facilities and a 7-a-side pitch will also make an enormous difference across the county. It has been a team effort from all involved to reach this fantastic milestone. The whole scheme will provide great opportunities for students around Sandy and strengthen the brilliant learning environment that the school already offer.”