THE BLUE COAT SCHOOL
- more hurdles ahead
The agreement between the School's Governors, the Trustees and the City Council (see last Newsletter) spoke of 'the vision of building a new school within the envelope of the existing building'. It has now emerged that, in order to satisfy the requirements of the government's DfEE, a large new extension will have to be built on the north side of the building. This will incorporate a sports hall, dining room and modern teaching accommodation, along with a new main entrance and disabled access arrangements, linking in with a refurbished North Wing, Shirley Hall and (in place of the existing dining area) an IT resource centre.
The front part of the existing building - including the Clock Tower, the Board Room and the Chapel - will have to be kept physically separate from the School accommodation; though the Liverpool Blue Coat School Foundation (the building's owners) will be happy for the School to continue to use the Chapel. In addition, a developer will need to be found for the redundant South Wing; though it is anticipated that conversion to flats will be an attractive proposition as the building is structurally sound and situated in a popular residential area.
The major complications are to do with the Foundation's charitable status (which means that any intention to dispose of land or buildings will have to be publicly advertised, and objections invited), and the building's Grade II* Listed status (which means that the owners will have to demonstrate why an extension is necessary, and that it can be designed to blend in with the existing building).
Meanwhile Mr Michael Bell - the School's Headmaster, who had become personally committed to the idea of a new building on a new site - left at Christmas, and the subsequently appointed Acting Head will be leaving at Easter. However, the Trustees are confident that the future of the School is secure, and that the new plans will come to fruition.