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Westfield Academy rebuild: Parents and pupils given first look at plans
Parents and prospective pupils were cautiously optimistic about the Cinderella transformation of a Watford school.
Westfield Academy has been awarded a £20 million government grant to be demolished and rebuilt as a brand new eco-friendly secondary school for West Watford.
The extensive plans went on display in a public consultation this week at the academy in Tolpits Lane.
Watford dad Bruce Mallett, who has a son about to start in year seven at Westfield in September, said he wanted to get a greater appreciation of what would be available at the new school.
"I’m excited about the fact there is going to be a new school," said the Kelmscott Crescent resident.
"But as plans develop they can change and I wonder how that’s going to impact on the students.
"£20 million is being spent, but is that for the infrastructure as well?
"But it all looks very nice."
James Mallett, 10, said he was looking forward to finishing school in the new state-of-the-art academy.
If planning permission is granted the new four-storey school will be built in the playing fields of the current Westfield Academy.
Work would commence at the end of the year and is expected to be completed in September 2016.
The new building will take 1,600 pupils - a 25 percent increase on the school’s current intake, and the attached sixth form will increase capacity from 250 pupils to 400.
Graham Hilsden, of Maythorne Close, was viewing the plans with his two children.
The 48-year-old said: "My daughter will be starting in year seven here in September.
"A new school here has been talked about for a while.
"I’m interested to see how it’s going to work.
"There’s such pressure on school places in this area, it’s good the school is being made bigger."
A carpark with 132 spaces is included in the plans to ease school congestion.
The school will continue as normal while construction of the new building takes place, with pupils using public sports facilities in the interim.
Once pupils move into the new building in September 2016, the current Westfield Academy will be demolished and its site will become the new school playing fields.
Lawrence Seed, with Interserve Kajima, the company contracted to carry out the work, said the public consultation was a chance for parents and residents to see and give feedback on the plans before they are submitted.
He said: "We will start on site on January 5. We are seeking planning permission for a four-storey block to be built on the existing playing fields. There will be no disruption to pupils at the school."
He added the work would offer a number of apprenticeship placements.
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