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Kelly visits Croydon's £25 million flagship building

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Kelly visits Croydon's £25 million flagship building


Published by webmaster for in Local Government

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly

The Secretary of State for Education, Ruth Kelly, will be visiting Croydon tomorrow (Friday) to tour Ashburton Learning Village.

She will be re-laying the foundation stone taken from the original school, which opened in 1950, in the grounds of the £25 million flagship building.

Work on Ashburton Learning Village in Croydon, started in June 2004 and, within weeks, will become the home of Ashburton Community School, Croydon Music Service, Ashburton library and mobile library for the housebound service, and the Continuing Education and Training Service (CETS).

Plans to redevelop the school have been in the pipeline since 2001, when Croydon Council secured government backing from the then Department for Education and Employment through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Headteacher Richard Warne said: "Getting a brand new school is something most heads and teachers only dream about. The learning village will have a profound impact on so many people in this area."

Facilities for the 1,200-pupil school include:

A three-storey school building with modern, high-tech rooms and science laboratories; A flexible hall, which can be used as a single space, with a stage and auditorium, or divided into two separate spaces, the stage as a fully-functioning dance studio with sprung floor and wall mirrors and the hall with lighting rig, sound equipment and control room; An all-weather, floodlit sports pitches and multi-games area; 

As well as Croydon Music Service and CETS having access to these amenities, the entire community will benefit as they are available for use after school hours, at weekends and during school holidays. In particular, members of the public can use the gym areas and changing rooms daily.

The move to bring learning for all ages under one roof is not the only groundbreaking aspect of this development.

Croydon is the first authority in the country to require major building projects to produce at least 10 per cent of their energy from on-site renewable resources and encourages plans to include environmentally-friendly features ia policy which won it praise at last year's Sustainable Development Conference.

The south-facing building has been described by George Ferguson, former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, as "setting a new design standard for schools".

With much emphasis placed on the need for environmental efficiency, the accommodation includes:

The largest solar panels to be installed in a building in the UK, A rain water tank to feed toilets and service sink; Movement-sensitive automatic lights locked into desks and activated by a main key reduces the possibility of thefts.

Malcolm Wicks MP, Minister for Energy, said: "The learning village will become a true beacon of excellence in our community. Apart from its huge potential in terms of education, it is significant that the building has taken sustainable energy seriously. It points to a better future, not only for education but also for clean energy."

As part of the project, 100 new homes will be built on the surplus land. Once the school has moved into its new accommodation, the old buildings will be demolished to make way for this. A 75-place nursery will be developed at the old Ashburton library site.


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