Architect’s drawings reveal first look at Costessey’s Ormiston Victory Academy

Architect drawings of a Norwich academy's �14m new building were revealed for the first time today as the principal said developers were set to deliver everything on her school's wish-list.

Ormiston Victory Academy, in Costessey, will get a purpose-built theatre, dance studio and sports hall, hair and beauty salon, science lecture theatre and an observatory on an open terrace.

They will all be housed in two new buildings, on part of the Middleton Crescent site's existing playing fields, and will replace the oldest part of the school.

It will all be centred on an open courtyard at the heart of the development.

The newer existing buildings, including the sixth-form block and Luke Day building, will be retained.

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Principal Rachel de Souza said she was amazed how much architect Nicholas Hare Architects and developer Balfour Beatty had been able to secure within a budget of just under �14m.

She said: 'My last school got �30m. We've probably done as much with the money here as we did there. Seventy-five per cent of it is new build. The money has gone a long, long way.'

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The first sod could be turned this June or July with work due to be completed in January 2014. Students would move across to the new building that Easter with the old site demolished during the summer holidays of 2014.

Ormiston Victory, which replaced the failing Costessey High School, had originally hoped to replace the entire site with a new �20m-plus complex, but had to scale back its plans when the coalition government announced funding cuts.

But it did not stop the academy coming up with an ambitious wish list.

'Right at the centre is the dining area and the purpose-built theatre,' said Mrs de Souza. 'That will be used for all our fantastic productions but we also want it to run as a theatre outside of school hours. There's also a dance studio and sports hall – which is really needed in Costessey – seven science labs, a science lecture theatre, and a science terrace which will have an observatory on the terrace so we can continue our work on astronomy.

'We'll have an open art terrace, art rooms, and an engineering workshop.

'We've got our wish-list.'

Originally, the school was not sure if it would be able to replace the old subsiding sports hall – whose changing rooms sunk 3ft over the summer holidays – but Mrs de Souza said it was now a key part of the new build.

That, the hair and beauty salon and the theatre – which will feature some of the two tonnes of HMS Victory oak donated to the school – will all be open to the public, as could a new restaurant if the school chooses to go ahead with plans for one in an existing building.

Outside, the old school building will be knocked down once students have moved into the new-build with that site turned into additional playing fields.

Outside classrooms and a number of informal seating areas are also on the cards although Mrs de Souza said she wanted to get students involved in designing the outdoor space.

'A lot of the students like to use the school and the outside space both during the school day and at other times,' she said. 'We're thinking about trim trails, an orchard, we will be keeping all our allotments and getting the students involved in what sort of things they would really like to make their leisure time more fun.'

Do you have an education story for the Evening News? Call reporter Victoria Leggett on 01603 772468 or email

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