Green light for new Dame Allan's junior school

PRIMARY pupils will have a new school after plans were given the go-ahead.

Artist's impression of the new Dame Allan's junior school

PRIMARY pupils will have a new school after plans were given the go-ahead. The new Dame Allan’s junior school will be built on the Victorian Hunter’s Moor Hospital site in Spital Tongues, Newcastle.

Due to open in September 2012, the school, for 300 pupils, has been designed with a host of green features, including renewable energy and rainwater recycling.

The derelict hospital, which was built in 1893 and closed three years ago, will now be demolished, with leftover rubble used as part of the school’s construction.

Trees on the site will be left in place to create an outdoor woodland classroom for the children. A nature trail will wind around trees and timber will be left to rot to attract wildlife.

Inside the building there will be ground source heat pumps for heating, solar panels for hot water and recycling of rainwater to flush toilets.

Dr John Hind, principal of Dame Allan’s Schools, said: “We are all absolutely delighted that the planning application has been approved.

“This is the most significant development in the history of the school since the move to Fenham in the 1930s. The governors and staff will be excited by the news of the decision and we are all looking forward to seeing the new nursery and junior school take shape.”

Councillors on Newcastle City Council’s development control committee gave the green light to the plans. There were only two objections from local people.

Members had raised concerns about traffic problems caused by parents on the school run. But they were told a drop-off car park with 26 spaces formed part of the plans and that the school planned to put a travel plan in place to encourage car-sharing, walking and cycling.

They were also told the new building would be smaller than the existing hospital.

At the moment Dame Allan’s junior school is split between sites at Forest Hall and Fenham.

The development will increase the capacity of the schools, which currently have almost 1,000 pupils, and free up space for development at Fenham, in areas like art and technology.

A feature of the new building will be a red, egg-shaped pod above the entrance, which will be an external extension of the school library.

The youngest children, in the nursery and reception class, will have their own self-contained classrooms at one end of the school, with their own separate entrance.

All the classrooms on the ground floor will open out, so the children can work and play together in their own safe, breakout areas, moving inside and out depending on the weather and their activities. The classrooms for the older children are on the upper floor. There will be two halls, which could be used for assemblies, performing arts, indoor sports and lunches.

And at break times the children can play in one of three separate areas, one for the early years pupils, one for Years 1 to 3 and one for Years 4 to 6.

As part of the green features computers will monitor the building’s temperature and carbon dioxide levels and adjust the ventilation. The main corridor of the school will also be fitted with solar powered extractor fans to increase ventilation on hot days.

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