City Academy in Norwich celebrates opening of new �21m school

A �21m project to make a Norwich school one of the most technologically advanced in the county was unveiled yesterday.

City Academy invited about 100 guests to the opening of its new building, which will replace the old Earlham High School on Bluebell Road.

Over cream teas, guests including politicians, police officers and the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, were entertained in the main hall of the three-storey building, which took 16 months to complete.

Finished on time and in budget, the building is formed of a wooden frame with solar panels on the roof and is heated by the University of East Anglia's biomass boiler.

Principal David Brunton told guests: 'This is probably one of the most technologically advanced schools currently in Norfolk, if not East Anglia. The building has a real purpose.

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'We really are a community school. We want to serve our community.

'It is a building to inspire our young people – to inspire them to learn and achieve.

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'I'm absolutely certain this building will allow the staff in the building to make that happen.'

He said City Academy would be different to most schools, with an emphasis on social and employability skills.

There will also be a focus on the creative arts with radio studios, a television studio, and music rehearsal rooms all on site.

Yesterday the pupils showed off their creative talents to guests with the school choir and a dance troupe performing at the opening ceremony.

Dennis Cotton, a director of Kier, which built the school, said the building was designed with pupils' needs in mind.

And the first pupils are already moving over from the old buildings of Earlham High School, which will be empty when the new term starts in September.

Vice-chancellor of the UEA Professor Edward Acton said the university was extremely proud to be one of the academy's sponsors.

'This can't fail to be an inspirational place in which to study and work,' he said.

'I hope we will see our links flourish over the months and years to come.'

The community wing of the building, which includes a dance and movement studio, a gym and a sports hall, will be open to the public for use by clubs in the Earlham area.

The academy features a large open atrium at the back of the school, looking out on to the woods behind it, with two curved walkways leading to classrooms on the first and second floors.

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