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New school building opens as part of £60m project

SHEFFIELD'S newest school building is open for business - the first phase of a £60 million project set to transform two former comprehensives.

The new campus for Sheffield Springs Academy in Arbourthorne - formerly Myrtle Springs - opened on time shortly after the half term break to pupils who had previously been studying in one of the most run down schools in the city.

A new building at its sister institution, Sheffield Park Academy on the Manor - the former Waltheof School - will be ready after Easter.

Springs principal David Lewis said the youngsters had been overwhelmed by their new surroundings.

"It is a fabulous building and it is perfect for education with its wide corridors, large classrooms and facilities like professional standard recording studios," he said.

"We've had no teething troubles so far, everything is up and running including all the IT systems. These are exciting times for us and we're delighted with the way things are going."

The new Springs building has a sharp angular design, built in a triangle around a central courtyard that contains a circular amphitheatre for performances of music and drama.

Other innovative features in both new schools include cyber-cafes and huge 40 metre-long sports halls built to Sport England specifications.

Sports facilities will also be open for use by the local communities.

Mr Lewis added: "Springs is a specialist in performing arts and I'd love to see The Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North appearing in the outdoor amphitheatre."

There will be indoor entertainment at Springs too - the main hall can also serve as a theatre with a large stage, a sound system with mixing desk, and retractable seating. Three dance and drama studios are also available, one ideal for teaching ballet.

The classrooms upstairs feature large windows, many with views across the sports fields to the city centre and the Derbyshire moors. An open day for prospective new staff is being held at the academy on Saturday and there will be an open day for the community on Saturday March 15.

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