“It looks even bigger inside” – that was my first reaction on visiting the new High School build. Perhaps it won’t win any architectural prizes, but it is nevertheless an imposing presence on Raby Park Road with its brick faced corners almost matching the façade of the recreation centre next door, but dwarfing both it and the scattered buildings of the existing school.
Colleagues from the Town Council and one each from Neston Civic Society and the Parkgate Society were shown round the building by Headteacher Steve Dool, Deputy Head Colin Randerson and Project Manager Ben Wolstenholme. One of the first things to impress us all was the use of natural light to illuminate the corridors and internal teaching rooms. Also impressive is the open aspect of the purpose-built dining room on the ground floor, yet visible from the other two.
The design allows maximum use to be made of the school’s excellent house system, and the plans for subtle colour coding of corridors and room numbering to guide students easily through the vast space. The designed-in plasma video screens are a long way from the chalkboards of my school years.
Students will benefit from the excellently-lit art rooms, the specialist technology workshops, state-of-the-art science laboratories, drama and other performance areas as well as, to my surprise, “generously” proportioned classrooms.
At £25 million, this is easily the most significant investment in Neston in recent times.
Colleagues were also impressed. “An outstanding facility; we are fortunate to have secured such a sizeable investment that will ensure a quality education for our children for many decades to come.” “I’m impressed with the way the staff have been able to put their stamp on the project to achieve a design that, hopefully, will work well for them. In a word ‘brilliant’. ” I’m envious of the students who will benefit from the new facilities. I look forward to seeing the finished product.”