Representatives from Temple Learning Academy and main contractor ISG gathered on site in East Leeds to mark the commencement of a project that will transform a disused leisure centre into an innovative free school.
The ceremonial event is a key milestone for staff and pupils at the Temple Learning Academy, which currently occupies temporary accommodation at the site, converted by ISG from existing offices at the leisure facility last year. The Academy opened at the start of the academic year in autumn 2015 in this temporary accommodation as a through-school for 1,020 students aged 4-16 years.
The scheme aims to re-use as much of the existing infrastructure from the former leisure centre as possible. ISG will demolish the swimming pool but retain the steel frame building, and re-use the existing sports hall facility. The internal layout of the leisure centre will be significantly reconfigured to create modern teaching accommodation and ISG will also retain and repair the building’s façade – installing additional windows to bring natural light into the structure.
ISG is set to build a new three-storey steel frame extension with ribbon glazing and metal cladding elevations, which will be primarily used by older students. Facilities will include SEN (Special Educational Needs) provision, a learning resource centre (LRC), a kitchen, dining area and sports facilities. The project also includes the construction of a new MUGA pitch and significant hard and soft landscaping with new paths and play areas, a car park for 90 cars and designated drop off areas.
Matthew Browne, Principal from Temple Learning Academy, commented:
“Today marked the start of the next phase of our journey as an academy. It’s great to bring meaning and purpose to this particular building in the heart of the community. What’s been wonderful is having the most important people, our pupils, here to celebrate the start of the construction and dig that first hole in the ground.”
Danny Murray, ISG’s Northern regional managing director, added:
“This event marks a key milestone in the creation of a permanent home for Temple Learning Academy in East Leeds, and is a great opportunity for key stakeholders to come together and celebrate this transformational project.
“The demand for high-quality learning space has never been higher and the EFA Framework has proved the perfect procurement vehicle to drive innovation, vision and efficiencies into the construction process to bring this scheme to site quickly.”