Notre Dame Catholic College – the first school to benefit from Mayor Joe Anderson’s £169 million education investment programme – opens on Monday, 16 September.
The £15 million building on Great Homer Street in Everton is part of the Mayor’s Investment Plan for Schools, devised as a rescue package following the scrapping of Wave Six of Liverpool’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.
The funding – a combination of city council and Government money – was negotiated as part of Liverpool’s City Deal, and will see at least 12 schools receive investment.
The school – which will educate up to 1,000 pupils and employs 120 staff, has been built in just over 12 months on a site adjacent to Everton Park Lifestyles Centre. Pupils will use the sports centre for swimming and other activities.
A community IT and reading space is in development for use by local residents.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “This is a great moment for the pupils and staff at Notre Dame Catholic College and I am absolutely delighted that it’s opening on time and on budget.
“Our young people deserve the very best facilities, and this school showcases some of the latest technology to make sure pupils get the most out of their learning.
“This is the first of at least a dozen substantial investments in education in Liverpool which will transform the experience for tens of thousands of present and future school pupils.
“This signals the start of a significant transformation of this area of North Liverpool, with work getting underway soon on Project Jennifer around Great Homer Street, and our ambitious plans for Everton Park.”
The new school is on the edge of the Project Jennifer regeneration scheme which is creating a new district centre around Great Homer Street.
Frances Harrison, Headteacher at Notre Dame Catholic College, said: “We’re all thrilled to bits with our new school. Everyone who has been inside has been absolutely bowled over by how light, airy and spacious it is.
“It is such an improvement over the previous building and will make a massive difference to the education we provide to our pupils.
“It is a tremendous honour to be the first school to benefit from the Mayor’s investment programme for education, and we are grateful to the city council for the support it has provided in partnership with the Archdiocese and the school Trustees.”
Each classroom has a hi-tech computer system with a large computer touch screen and key pad for each pupil enabling them to actively participate in lessons and answer questions.
Cabinet member for education, Councillor Jane Corbett, said: “The new school will not only build on the excellent education provided by the school, but will also act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole area.”
The school has retained important parts of its heritage, as the stained glass windows from the Chapel have been transferred across, along with the Board of Honours for former graduates.
Teaching staff have spent the last three weeks moving from their former building on Everton Valley, and have had to pack and unpack around 2,500 crates of books and equipment.
Notre Dame Catholic College is also home to Resonate, the city’s Music Support Service which teaches 8,000 pupils from across the city how to play an instrument.
Notre Dame has been built under a modern wide span structure which is quick to erect and far cheaper than the traditional method.
Around 60 percent of the sub-contractor spending has been with Liverpool companies as part of a council commitment to make sure local businesses benefit from the scheme. A&B Engineering in Old Swan won contracts worth almost £4 million for mechanical and engineering work.
Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North West, said: “I’m really pleased that 60 percent of our budget was spent with Liverpool-based companies.
“To further underline how this project supported local jobs, 230 of the 409 people who worked to build Notre Dame lived within 10 miles, another huge boost to the city’s economy.
“The construction period itself of 56 weeks was also quite remarkable – we were determined the college would open for the September term and the whole team are immensely proud to see the first pupils arrive.”
A total of 23 apprentices worked on the scheme, helping give young people construction skills.
James Jones, design director at architects Sheppard Robson said: “It’s been an exciting journey with the Notre Dame teachers and students developing such an innovative new school design.
“The building opens up to its parkland setting and provides a light filled school, which we believe will be an inspiring learning environment for generations of Liverpool students.”