WORK has got under way on a £1 million sixth form centre set to enhance the learning experience further at the JCB Academy in Rocester.
The project involves converting the historic Grade II listed Millholme building in Mill Street – directly opposite the Academy – into teaching spaces, high-tech IT facilities, meeting rooms and student communal areas.
JCB Academy principal Jim Wade showed the Advertiser around and spoke about his delight at securing funding for the ambitious project.
He said: “The JCB Academy sixth form has already been a huge success and many of our students have gone on to fantastic engineering careers with some of the UK’S best known companies.
“The £1 million investment in the new centre will take The JCB Academy’s sixth form provision to a whole new level, giving the students a whole new focus and a resource dedicated to their needs.
“When we got the news through about being successful in our bid for the funding from the department for education there was quite a lot of leaping up and down.
“It will be an absolutely fantastic facility which will enhance the first-class facilties we already have over the road.”
Millholme was built in 1831 as the home for the manager of the adjacent cotton mill which is now houses.
It has also been previously used by JCB as residential accommodation for its employees.
The conversion work by Broadstaff Construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer.
The first students will move into the brand new facility in September 2013.
Current year 11 pupils at the JCB Academy , 15-year-olds Georgia Turner and Jack Connor, said they were ‘excited’ about their new home for their final two years of study.
Georgia said: “The independence and being part of something new again is really exciting.”
Jack added: “I’m looking forward to coming back to sixth form now with something new to look forward to.”
As part of the work, a link will be created from the Academy to Millholme over Mill Street, so pupils do not have to cross the road.