School building work under way

An artist's impression of Thetford Academy's new building

An artist's impression of Thetford Academy's new building

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THE start of work at a £16.7 million school for Thetford has been marked with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Cathy Spillane, Thetford Academy’s principal, said the building would provide for the school and community as four pupils turned the first sod of land.

Thetford Academy new building

Thetford Academy new building

“We are hoping that this school will be a brilliant facility for the children of Thetford but also a community facility for everyone in the town.

“This will be a 21st century school for the children of Thetford and it is no less than they deserve,” she said.

The event, held on Wednesday, was also attended by new town mayor, Terry Lamb, sponsors, governors and other project stakeholders.

Dean Burgess, regional managing director for contractors Mansell, said the 10,000sqm site would contain a range of amenities.

In addition to new classrooms, the site will include specialist areas including a new sports hall, fitness suite, sixth form centre, learning and resources centre and ICT areas.

A large central courtyard will offer learning and social facilities next to new dining areas.

The building’s environmental credentials will also be strong, with solar panels, a biomass boiler, water-saving features and lighting controls included.

It is hoped that the school will be able to hold more than 2,000 students by 2020. The current site hosts around 750.

Pupils from the school will be directly involved in the building work through four apprentice schemes, according to Mr Burgess.

He said: “We are delighted to be working with Norfolk County Council again to deliver this high-profile academy project, which will give us the opportunity to offer training and career opportunities to local young people as we are employing four apprentices through our own apprenticeship scheme during the construction period.”

Work will be completed by September 2013 in time for the new school year, according to Mansell.