New Belle Vue high school built on site of former cinema open to pupils this year
- New Belle Vue secondary school set to open months ahead of schedule
- Site was originally home to Showcase Cinema which closed down during the onset of the pandemic
- Pupils attend ceremony to celebrate building opening soon
Pupils at Manchester’s latest secondary school are set to move into their new building several months head of schedule.
Work is currently being undertaken on the new school at Belle Vue, being built on a 12.6 acre site on Hyde Road that used to be home to east Manchester’s Showcase Cinema.
The cinema on the site previously was bought by the council and closed during the early onset of the pandemic and never re-opened.
Demolition work on the site began last year. Before that, the site also previously housed the Belle Vue entertainment complex.
Co-op Academy Belle Vue accepted its first Year 7 students last September and will eventually take in 1,200 pupils.
They have been taught in temporary premises at Connell College in Beswick whilst their new permanent building is being finished.
Last week the pupils were invited to a ‘topping out’ ceremony where they got a bird’s-eye view of what will become their new school.
Council chiefs have now revealed the project, which is being carried out by construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine, is a few months ahead of schedule.
The pupils were originally scheduled to be moving into the new facility in September 2023, though the town hall says work is set to be finished later this year and that pupils will be able to move in some time either before the end of this year or early in 2023.
The main school building will be three storeys high, containing a teaching block, a drama block, and a two-storey sports block that will have a separate entrance so it can be used outside of school hours by the local community.
The main building will also include the school’s reception, a community hub with a library on the floor above, and a dining hall.
At the rear of the site, bordering Kirkanshulme Lane, there will be two playing fields and a multi-use games area with courts for tennis and basketball, a five-a-side football pitch, and training areas for netball and hockey.
There will also be a 140-space car park.
During the ceremony last week, the pupils were accompanied by a piper and marched onto the roof of the new building. They also helped pour concrete on top of a traditional evergreen laurel bow that will forever remain set within the building’s structure.
Councillor Garry Bridges, executive member for children and schools, said: "The academy might have only opened a few months ago - and in temporary accommodation for now - but it's already making a positive difference to its pupils.
"It's brilliant news therefore that building work on their new school building is well-ahead of schedule and that pupils are now going to be able to move in a lot sooner than planned and well before the original date set of September 2023.”