Ambitious development plans for Eastbourne school
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St Catherine’s College in Priory Road has applied to Eastbourne Borough Council to build an ambitious two-storey sports hall.
According to the plans, it would be a standalone four-court sports hall block with a mezzanine level for associated facilities including changing rooms and fitness studios.
The college has almost 1,100 students aged between 11–16. Due to the college being built in 1958 for 500 students and the school’s growing popularity, the current sports facilities need developing.
Headteacher Sol Berhane said, “It’s great that we have grown from 500 students, but our sports facilities haven’t grown with us. The school has been trying to get a sports hall for 20 years and we’re determined for it to happen now.”
Deputy headteacher Nigel Jewell said, “We would like to provide our students and the local community with the very best, and this new sports hall will help us to achieve this ambition.”
Bad weather leading to waterlogged fields means that students have to stay indoors and classes have to merge and students miss out on classes because the indoor facilities can’t cater to the number of the students the school now teaches.
At the moment the school has one indoor court and a fitness studio. If plans go ahead, the new sports hall will add to this rather than replacing the current facilities.
The aim is for the site to also be available for church and charity use outside of school hours to make it a ‘community hub’, Mr Berhane said.
So far the school has raised a significant amount of money but a remaining £500,000 is needed.
Mr Berhane said the project will be completed in phases. The first stage will create the shell and structure of the hall with a functional four-court sports hall. The second stage will add the changing rooms and studios.
Mr Jewell said, “We are determined to give our students the very best facilities that they deserve and can feel proud of. We aim to start building in August.”
Mr Berhane said, “It’s taken us a year to get to this stage. There’s been lots of hurdles but we’ve overcome them. We’re determined and our kids deserve better facilities.
“Our students are so special and deserving – this is about delivering a sports centre for them.”
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