PLANS for a new dedicated Sixth Form building housing a common room and study room at Kilkeel High School have been submitted. In recent weeks, the Education Authority lodged a proposal for this, along with a separate application for a new modular building containing two classrooms, to council planners. A design and access statement says that the Knockchree Avenue school currently provides separate accommodation for Lower Sixth Form and Upper Sixth Form ‘as there aren’t rooms large enough to cater for both forms together’. ‘There is no dedicated Lower Sixth accommodation in the existing school building,’ it reads. ‘Presently, the Lower Sixth accommodation (both common room and study room) is located in the school’s lecture theatre. ‘When guest speakers etc visit the school, the Lower Sixth are required to relocate to the Upper Sixth common room (if space permits) or the school’s library. ‘Upper Sixth accommodation is located on the first floor of the existing school building. ‘The school library is used as an Upper Sixth study room. ‘The library is used by all forms in the school.’ The document adds that ‘there is no dedicated Sixth Form study room anywhere within the school, nor are there any vacant rooms available for this use that are a suitable size’, and that ‘the existing Sixth Form common areas are inadequate due to room layout and lack of servery, and are spread across two separate locations’. ‘Ultimately, this means that additional accommodation in some form will be required to facilitate suitable Sixth Form accommodation,’ it continues. ‘The school require the new Sixth Form accommodation no later than start of term September 2023, in order to help relieve accommodation and timetabling pressure. ‘This tight project programme, plus the lack of space within the existing school building that is suitable for conversion to compliant Sixth Form accommodation, means that it is most feasible to proceed with a new standalone modular construction.’ It is highlighted that ‘site usage has determined that the plot of land to the front of the school meals kitchen and to the north-west of the main high school building is not utilised for outdoor activity at present, and is large enough to accommodate the building’. ‘It is the Education Authority’s opinion that the proposed siting of the new Sixth Form building is respectful to both the existing school site and neighbouring properties,’ the statement concludes. ‘The development of the new Sixth Form building will not impact on any existing trees or hedgerows, nor will the building itself be more prominent than its existing surroundings.’ Plans for the proposed modular building show that it would be located between the school’s main playing field and car parking areas.
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