Alderman Blaxill knocked down ready for new Colchester school building
Paul Nixon Photography (sent by ECC permission to use)
Demolition is well underway at a former Colchester secondary school – ahead of a new education building rising from the ashes.
Contractors have begun knocking down Alderman Blaxill, in Paxman Avenue, which closed in 2014 due to falling pupil numbers.
It was used temporarily in 2015 by Market Field School while its own premises in Elmstead Market were refurbished.
Now it is being demolished, so work can begin building a new 900-place secondary school on the site in the New Year.
Initial plans to simply re-open the school were quashed when inspections revealed the existing buildings needed too much work doing to them.
Despite Essex County Council spending around £12.6million on creating 600 extra secondary school places in the area for September 2017, with expansion projects completed at both The Stanway School and Philip Morant School and College, more spaces are still needed as the Colchester population continues to boom.
Barnes Construction, a local contractor, has been appointed to carry out the demolition of the old school, and the construction of the new school which, subject to a successful planning application, will start in February.
The project will take around 20 months and, when completed in autumn 2019, the new building will house more than 20 classrooms, a sports hall, library and a suite of science labs and technology workshops.
The new building has been designed by Concertus.
Ray Gooding, Essex county councillor for education, said: “Colchester continues to grow rapidly, and we are firmly committed to ensuring the area has the infrastructure it needs to support that growth.
“We have already spent £30m on primary school projects in Colchester since September 2014, as well as £12.6m on creating more secondary school places in the borough for September 2017.
“With larger cohorts now beginning to move through from primary to secondary school, it is important that investment continues, and we are planning to spend about £230m on projects across the county over the next three years, including a number in Colchester.
“I am delighted such good progress is now being made on the Paxman Avenue site and look forward to construction starting in the New Year.”
Alternative plans had been considered for the Alderman Blaxill site – which first opened in 1955 – including an all-through primary and secondary school.