Thumbs up for school facel

Leyland St Marys Catholic Technology College plans to re-build the school after the fire in September
Leyland St Marys Catholic Technology College plans to re-build the school after the fire in September

Excitement is growing over plans to re-build a Leyland school destroyed by a fire.

Architects were at Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College last week to show staff, parents and pupils the new designs to redevelop the school.

It is part of a consultation process before a planning application is submitted to the council next month.

Lawrence McBurney, from Cassidy and Ashton architects, said: “We want to make the school more welcoming and give it a facelift.

“We’re looking to make the school more compact on site, and link the pupils more to their social and dining spaces.

“We’re creating a few new courtyard areas, and we’re moving the playground next to the sports hall.

“There will also be a new activity and dance studio built, and changing rooms.

“It’s not just about the buildings though, we’re looking to landscape the school site with more planting.”

He added: “The reaction from pupils, staff and parents has been very encouraging.

“We’re taking their views on board before we submit the final plans to the council in February.

“The students have lost a common room which they want back, for example.”

The buildings destroyed in the fire last September have now been demolished, and pupils are working from the surviving buildings and classrooms in ‘portacabins’ around the Royal Avenue site.

The aim is to finish the work by September next year.

Mr McBurney said: “The temporary classrooms are great but they’re very spread out on the site, and there is a lot of building disruption.

“It will be good to get everyone back into a small cluster of school buildings.”

Parent Elaine Derry, whose daughter Grace is in Year 9, said: “I think the new plans look really good. “Grace will be in her final year when this is complete, so it’s good that she will get to see the end result.

“She was one of the pupils being taken to the school in Ribbleton for a few months last year after the fire, but it hasn’t affected her learning at all. I think the school has done so well.”

Five boys have now been charged in connection with the blaze at the school on September 1.

The boys, aged 11, 12, 13, 13 and 15, and all from Leyland, have all been charged with arson with intent/reckless as to whether life was endangered, and arson with intent to endanger life.

They will appear at Preston Youth Court on February 4.