STAFF and students have been celebrating the start of a new era at Park Community School as part of a £21m development project.
Construction work to rebuild 70 per cent of the Leigh Park school’s buildings began in March.
And yesterday saw the topping out ceremony take place for a new teaching block.
The ceremony celebrates the steel structure reaching its maximum height and marks a milestone in the construction.
Headteacher Chris Anders said: ‘Park Community School for the last 15 years has been suffering from concrete cancer which means that parts of the building’s structure built in the 50s are degrading,’ he said.
‘The school needs to be replaced because ultimately it would fall down if it got left for long enough.’
Mr Anders said it’s a hugely exciting development.
‘There’s an obvious demonstration and support in an area for a school by rebuilding it.
‘And it’s the opportunities and excitement that will come from working with new furniture, new equipment in a new environment,’ he said.
‘It’s tailored towards the teaching styles that are being developed in the school.
‘It shows students there is a real value in their learning.’
Councillor Peter Edgar, executive member for education at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘This is an amazingly exciting project.
‘It will give them a modern, light, airy environment which will be excellent for teaching and learning.
‘They have waited a long time for this and they fully deserve it.
‘It will improve standards at this school and make this school that little bit better a place to come to.’
The new teaching block replaces the older accommodation on site, which will be demolished once the students have moved into the new accommodation next summer.
Demolition, refurbishment of the remaining existing accommodation, landscape works and car park reinstatement will follow, with an anticipated completion in spring 2015.