Dorset County Council unveil multi-million pound school redevelopment plans

Dorset Echo: EXPANSION: Plans for extending the school on display EXPANSION: Plans for extending the school on display

PARENTS and members of the public have been checking out multi-million pound plans to redevelop a Dorchester school.

Dorset County Council is planning to invest £3.8million to extend and remodel Manor Park First School in a bid to cope with the increasing demand for school places in the county town.

A public exhibition was held at the Mellstock Avenue school for people to come and view the proposals and give feedback.

The improvement work will take a phased approach with the first element seeing six new classrooms added before the rest of the school is refurbished in stages to provide a larger hall, more outside space and more modern classrooms.

The remodelled school will be able to accommodate 450 pupils, compared to the 378 currently enrolled at Manor Park.

Headteacher Melanie Cridland said the plans would give the school much ‘brighter, more spacious rooms with a better layout’.

She added that the redevelopment would allow children at the school to ‘thrive and grow’.

A spokesman for the county council said at the exhibition: “We have got to address the basic need for school places in Dorchester.

“We have looked at other schools as part of the process and, after looking at the options, came up with the conclusion that Manor Park was going to be the best proposal in terms of taking on additional numbers.”

He added that the response from those attending the exhibition had been largely positive as parents and local residents were able to see plans for the refurbishment and a model of what the school will look like.

The feedback from the exhibition will form part of a consultation process before a planning application is submitted early in the new year.

If consent is achieved work on the first phase will begin in the summer of 2014 with work being completed the following year.

Parent Sarah Winsor said she was impressed by the plans after viewing the exhibition.

She said: “I think it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

“For us to benefit from it is marvellous.”

Her son Harry, who unfortunately will leave the school just as the work is completed, agreed that the plans look exciting.

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