Harrogate High to be rebuilt

tis  Harrogate High School.  110608M2e.
tis Harrogate High School. 110608M2e.

A RUN-DOWN secondary school in Harrogate is to be demolished and “rebuilt from scratch” as part of a Government programme.

Harrogate High School is one of 261 schools nationwide to be chosen for investment.

Principal Andrew Bayston said the school was informed on Thursday (yesterday) and was delighted by the news.

“As many of you will know, the school was built in the 1960s and, although we have done our very best to maintain its condition with limited resources, there are parts of the building that have definitely seen better days,” he said.

“Under the new programme we would expect to be building a new school on the site before we demolish the old buildings so there will be minimal disruption for our students and staff.”

The school has been chosen as part of a Government scheme to improve the conditions in some of Britain’s school.

Mr Bayston said he is to meet soon with funders to discuss the proposals, but that he expects work to start soon.

He believes the new building will be open within two to three years.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said: “This significant investment in children’s education is a real investment in our future, and Harrogate High has been in need of serious building work for some time,” he said.

Mr Bayston, in the school’s bid for funds, said that it wasn’t economically viable to keep patching up repairs, adding that the school was too large for the 780 students currently on the roll.

Harrogate High is the only school in North Yorkshire to be chosen for the scheme.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, said that his department had to take difficult decisions to target spending on those schools that are in the worst condition.

“In order to ensure that the process was robust and fair, a qualified surveyor has visited every school for which an eligible application was received to verify the condition of the buildings,” he said.

“This was necessary to make sure the schools being taken forward are those with the greatest overall need.”

Mr Bayston said he hoped to relocate as much of the school’s new equipment as possible, such as the teaching kitchens, bistro and learning resource centre, and retain some of the better sports facilities.

“We will also continue to maintain the present buildings for our current students,” he said.

“As we have only just received the good news, we don’t have all the details yet, but we will keep the school website updated regularly.”