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01 Dec

£4.2 M New School Building & High Performance Sport Centre starts on-site


Students from Plymouth Studio School joined with representatives from the world of sport,  tourism and events, and education today  (1st December) to mark the start on-site of their new £4.2 million state-of-the-art School and High Performance Sport Centre.

Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth, Amanda Lumley, and representatives from the schools’ sponsor organisations, Phil Davies, Principal of City College Plymouth (lead sponsors), and Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John, joined top athletes, Olympic swimmer, Antony James and University of St Mark & St John alumna and British Diving champion Rhea Gayle, to help make the first official concrete pour.

Guests also gathered items for a  time-capsule to symbolise the Studio School’s innovative approach to learning which gives students a mix of academic excellence, enterprise and employability, as well as providing top sport coaching, state-of the art facilities and on-going work placements for Year 10 and 12 students looking to forge careers in sport, tourism and event management.

The two-storey, three block building, which is being built by Kier Construction Western and Wales and due for completion in Autumn 2016, will include a High Performance Sport Centre equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and a Medical  Lab for sport physiotherapy, power testing, functional screenings and physiological monitoring. It will also include an indoor laser pistol shooting range suitable for Modern Pentathlon training and Olympic lifting platforms. A science laboratory, sixth form space and multi-use atrium are also included.

Some of the state-of-the-art equipment will also be used as a ‘Smartgym’ to help all Plymouth Studio School students develop mental focus, team-working, self-control, confidence and evaluation skills – all important in gaining a head-start in skills needed  for the workplace, higher education and enterprise.

The Plymouth Studio School opened its doors this September to its first cohort of Year 10 and Year 12 student based in temporary accommodation on the University of St Mark & St John campus. A total of 300 students will attend the new school, with the next intake of 100 students starting in September 2016.

Matthew Lennon, Principal of the Plymouth Studio School comments, “We’re delighted that the new building is now underway and our students of all abilities will be able to benefit from the top level facilities which it will offer to help them reach their full potential.

The space is ideally suited to our small class sizes, flexible timetables and individual approach to learning.  It will also provide sport students with the world-class equipment, monitoring, coaching and science facilities needed to help them reach peak performance and pursue careers as sport coaches, therapists, scientists and physios’.  We’re looking forward to continuing to work with our partners when it comes to putting Plymouth on the map for excellence in sport,tourism and events.”

Phil Davies, Principal of City College Plymouth, lead sponsor organisation for the school , “We’re delighted that the new building is underway and will help to provide a unique and exciting option for students as young as Year 10 to get a taste of real-life work experience and to gain the skills needed by today’s employers.”

Student Executive Director for Plymouth Studio School, Year 12 Joe Tibbetts, “Plymouth Studio School is already providing me with a brilliant opportunity to combine my A levels with high level  swimming training, so it will be fantastic to have both the learning facilities and sport performance facilities together in own new building next year.”

Amanda Lumley, governor of Plymouth Studio School and Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth comments, “It’s important that Plymouth has a school focused in establishing excellence in the tourism, leisure and life-style sectors and helping to create a skilled  and innovative workforce for  the City and beyond in these employment growth areas. Students are already flourishing and working alongside employers in the tourism sector – the new facilities will be the icing on the cake.”

University of St Mark & St John alumna and Commonwealth medal winner, Katherine Endacott, who is already part of the top level coaching team at Plymouth Studio School together with Olympic Sport performance psychologist, Jon Rhodes, Olympic swimmer, Antony James and British Olympic shooting star, Gorgs Geikie, will help support students in getting the most from the new state-of-the-art High Performance Sport Centre.

Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John adds, “We’re extremely excited about being one of the first Universities ever to have a Studio School facility on campus and about the opportunities this provides for our own students and staff to get involved in inspiring and supporting Plymouth Studio School students on their chosen career and higher education paths across Sport, Business and Health.”

The new building is due for completion by Autumn 2016.  The construction team is led by Kier Construction Western & Wales.  Architects for the project are Satellite Architects.

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