A £10million new build project for Hartsdown Academy will begin in August

Hartsdown head teacher Matthew Tate

An ambitious £10million building project at Hartsdown Academy in Margate is due to begin in August.

The school plans to knock down five of its teaching blocks and create a new school building and sports hall extension.

The three phase project will also include refurbishment of the current main block once funding has been secured.

Hartsdown Academy had originally been earmarked in the Building Schools for the Future programme which began its first phase in 2005. But when the programme was scrapped and replaced with a new scheme in 2012 Hartsdown was not included on the list of schools to benefit from a rebuild despite the buildings poor condition.

Finally, in May 2015, the Minster of State for Schools announced the Government would fund a further £2billion school building programme. Some 277 schools, including Hartsdown, were selected.

The current building is in poor condition

Head teacher Matthew Tate says the build will give students a modern and positive space and demonstrates that they are worth investing in.

He said: “The building is designed to deliver modern education with interactive whiteboards and good ICT. The current 1950s building is not designed for these things.

“The design will also reduce bullying as we have been careful to include passive supervision, so there will be no dark corners.

Image dha planning

“We will be able to get new DT equipment and have a positive space for the canteen and library. Importantly, it will allow students to put a bad deal behind them. Other schools had new buildings and Hartsdown did not. Now they can see that investment in them and their education and that in itself is a positive thing and will make them feel differently and the school.

“Another benefit will be that it will increase community use of our sports facilities. Currently the changing area is not good enough for that but once the build is done we can make more use of it.”

The first phase will be the demolition of the dining, library and humanities blocks. This will be the site of the main build of a new two storey and part three store teaching block.

Image dha planning

Documents from DHA planning and Keir Construction outline proposals for the new site with art rooms on the upper floors to obtain natural daylight, engineering spaces on the ground floor  and food technology adjacent to the dining hall.

The first floor of the teaching block will accommodate the majority of standard classrooms such as ICT and graphics.

Work will begin on August 8 to remove asbestos followed by demolition of the buildings in October. The new build is expected to be completed by January/February 2020.

Image dha planning

The second phase will be demolition of the music block and one storey buildings at the rear to create a Sports Hall block with new changing rooms, an activity studio, music rooms and a classroom providing additional teaching support.

This part of the scheme is expected to take around 6 months and  should be completed by September 2020.

A bid for funding for the third phase is already in and will hopefully be confirmed and completed next year. This will enable work to refurbish the current main block and increase it in size.

Image dha planning

The school will continue to run while work is carried out with some facilities such as the canteen being housed temporarily in the main hall.

There will be no temporary classrooms as payment for these would have to come out of the main build budget.

Mr Tate said: “It is doable. There will be some challenges, but it will be worth it will be worth the end result. “

The 960 pupil school new build is not intended to mean an increase in the student roll.

Future ambitions for Hartsdown include the opening of a specialist unit for ASD students and the aim to become an all-through primary/secondary school serving children aged 4 – 19, similar to the St George’s site in Broadstairs.