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Wreckers to move on site as school refurb job starts
PUPILS at a Barton primary school are celebrating the start of a £5.2m scheme to update their old classrooms.
Plans to upgrade Bayards Hill Primary School were first raised eight years ago.
Now the demolition of the old buildings will start in the next two weeks ahead of the construction work next month.
Phase one will start next week and will finish next August, followed by phase two to finish in spring 2015.
Phase one is for five refurbished classrooms, four new classrooms within a new link building connecting two existing blocks, and a new playground.
Phase two will include another new classroom, a room and kitchen, new car park and school entrance.
The existing buildings – used by 430 pupils – date back to the 1960s.
They were used by Bayswater Secondary School before Bayards Hill Primary School took over the buildings in 2003.
Headteacher Keith Ponsford said: “We are on the site of an old secondary school that is too big and spread out for us, so what it exciting is by the end of this we will be one school.
“After all this waiting it is finally happening. We haven’t spent much money on the school because we were expecting it to be knocked down. It is a tired old building and the children will end up with a school that will encourage them to enjoy their surroundings and their studies.”
School site manager Sally Pether said: “After waiting so long for it to start it will mean a great deal to the children. “This is an old spread out secondary school, so it will mean the children will feel more secure.
“For their age the buildings are serviceable but they are not a nice environment.”
Some of the buildings are also used for evening rehearsals by the Oxfordshire County Music Service, based next door.
The building project is being carried out for Oxfordshire County Council – who Mr Ponsford said stepped in to fund the project after initial £9m plans by the Department For Education fell through in 2010.
County cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “A lot of planning and hard work has gone into this project and I look forward to the job being complete and the benefits being realised by all at the school.”
The site has been fenced and cleared by Wantage-based construction specialist Stepnell.
The old boilers will be replaced with a modern gas system and install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof.
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