Costessey’s Ormiston Victory Academy reveals wish list for new buildings

A Norwich academy has revealed its wish list – including a state-of-the-art theatre, public restaurant and beauty salon – for a �14m redevelopment which is set to be completed by January 2014.

Ormiston Victory Academy, in Costessey, has made a start on plans for the major project which principal Rachel de Souza hopes will be built by Norfolk people for the Norfolk community.

The academy, which opened in September 2010, had originally hoped to re-build the school from scratch on the old Costessey High School site but had to scale back its plans when government funding was first put on hold and then reduced as part of budget cuts.

But that has not stopped principal Mrs de Souza and her staff thinking big as they start making plans for the redevelopment which should be started in October next year.

She said: 'We want an outstanding academy and an outstanding building in an outstanding county.'

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Top of the wish list is a new theatre which would stage the school's regular musicals, concerts and other performances.

Mrs de Souza said the plans had been fuelled by news that the academy had just become the first school in Norfolk – and possibly the first in East Anglia – to be given permission to perform Phantom of the Opera.

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She added: 'We're going to ask Andrew Lloyd Webber to come along to the first presentation. We're hoping to time it to be able to use the new theatre.'

An artificial-turf area, new science laboratories, a lecture theatre, a film and radio studio, and a languages lab could also be built.

And a beauty school, coffee shop and restaurant have also been proposed for the Middleton Crescent site and would all be run by students as businesses which members of the public could use.

Mrs de Souza said she wanted to involve the community as much as possible and would be asking for their views on the plans.

She also hopes the construction project will benefit Norfolk people.

'It's going to be a substantial project lasting more than a year using lots of local builders and building materials,' she said. 'We will be looking to source from Norfolk – that's going to be very important to us. If we can get it in Costessey that will be the first place to look.'

The new school buildings would be built in a curve around the existing line of trees on the site and would replace the old main block which would be demolished.

The more modern English block, sixth-form centre and the Luke Day building would be retained although some areas would be re-furbished.

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