Building boost for Suffolk schools

By Rebecca SheppardSCHOOLS in Suffolk are set to benefit from a £18million Government grant for large-scale building projects.After Suffolk County Council drew up its Asset Management Plan outlining what school buildings it has and its planned improvements and expansions, the government has allocated it millions of pounds worth of spending power.

By Rebecca Sheppard

SCHOOLS in Suffolk are set to benefit from a £18million Government grant for large-scale building projects.

After Suffolk County Council drew up its Asset Management Plan outlining what school buildings it has and its planned improvements and expansions, the government has allocated it millions of pounds worth of spending power.

And next Tuesday the Executive Committee will give its seal of approval to the capital schemes the council will support.


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County councillor Tony Lewis, who has responsibility for children and young people, said yesterday : "It's very good indeed. There have been a number of years recently that have been very good settlement for capital expenditure on schools.

"We now know what's happening in the future and its better to have the money in your hand now, as it were.

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"It will cover all the special schemes that we want to do and will make a big difference."

He added: "There is nothing like a nice building – it's the same whether you're working or whether you're at school."

The money will be used for significant projects in 2004-5 and the planning of big schemes for the year after.

A total of £5million has been earmarked for the longer-term major maintenance and replacement work, including heating system replacement, re-roofing and window replacement in more than 120 schools.

And the council wants to ensure it provides more school places in areas where the population has grown, tackle accommodation issues at schools with serious weaknesses and continue to replace temporary buildings.

It has also allocated £150,000 for furniture and equipment and £100,000 for the safe access to schools.

There are 16 schools that will be given money for projects starting in 2004-5, which will meet the need for more school places.

Among there are Hartismere High School, Eye, which will receive £800,000 for the second phase of a building development plan to cater for more pupils, and Gorseland Primary School, Martlesham, which will have £795,000 for extensions to replace temporary accommodation and improvements to the existing facilities.

Funding has also been allocated for the design work to be started for eight similar projects in schools, which are planned for 2005-6 and beyond, including £595,000 for Stowmarket High School.

Large scale improvements and modernisation will be undertaken at 24 schools, starting from next year. East Bergholt High School will receive £500,000 that will go towards refurbishment of three science laboratories and a prep room and Maidstone Infant School, Felixstowe, will have £160,000 for improvements to nursery and reception classrooms.

And the planning for another 27 similar schemes, which will start from 2005, have been allocated more than £5.3million, including £550,000 for Worlingham Middle School's sports hall and drama area.

As part of the £18million settlement there is also £1.2million designated for building projects at three special education schools, including Ashley School, Lowestoft.

Another £780,000 has been earmarked for the planning of schemes at Ipswich special schools, which would start further into the future.

rebecca.sheppard@eadt.co.uk

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