A £4.2m extension to Ashington High School has been officially opened by Member of Parliament, Ian Lavery whose Wansbeck constituency includes the town.
The new building houses classrooms, a drama studio, music room and Post-16 centre for sixth form students. A multi-use games area featuring 4G synthetic turf, four mini tennis courts and a full-size netball court complete the school’s new look.
Northumberland County Council funded £3.8m of the cost of the improvements.
Interim principal Gary Douglas said: “The extension has been specifically designed, built and fitted out to create the best possible learning and teaching environment. By relocating the entire English department and the Post-16 centre to the facility we have ensured every one of our 1,200 students will spend at least part of their school week in these new surroundings.
“The new build was an integral part of our long-held aim to switch from a three to two tier education system in order to drive up standards and help our students reach their full potential. The feedback we’ve had so far from students and parents has been extremely positive and the new building has already provided a great lift to our school community.”
The 12,497sq ft extension was designed by Aura and architect Parson Brinckerhoff and built by Esh Construction. Project support for the local authority was provided by Faithful & Gould.
Commenting on the new facilities, Ian Lavery MP said: “I am really impressed with the building and I hope the students enjoy their learning experience in it. However the bricks and mortar are just part of what the team are trying to achieve here. I want all of our schools including Ashington High School to attract and retain outstanding teachers so we can all share the responsibility to give our young people the very best start in life.”
Councillor Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “The council is very pleased to be able to fund new facilities like this for young people, despite our very challenging budgetary position. Investment in education is fundamental to the future of Northumberland and its communities and we see this as a priority. I hope young people at Ashington High enjoy learning in this new building.”