New use for former school site

Published on: Wednesday, 07-May-2014

Knowsley Community College has announced plans to move to a new, state-of-the art campus at the former Christ the King Centre for Learning building in Huyton.

Knowsley Community College, highly commended by OFSTED in recent reports, has just received approval for capital funding that will enable it to develop the former Christ the King Centre for Learning building on Stockbridge Lane as its new campus, after approval by the Skills Funding Agency.

A decision was taken in July 2013 to close the school at the site, and the building has been empty since the school closed.  In September 2013, the College started discussions with Knowsley Council about a possible relocation to the site.  Since then the College has conducted a feasibility review and consultation with staff, students, prospective students, parents and other local stakeholders.

The College plans to significantly adapt the building to create world class technical and professional facilities for further and higher education, based around a series of ‘enterprise zones’, reflecting the knowledge and skills priorities of the Liverpool City Region.  

The approval of capital funding now means the proposed relocation to the new site in September 2015 can go ahead,” said a delighted Steve Logan, Principal of Knowsley Community College. “We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but ultimately, this decision provides a very exciting and unique opportunity to reshape the college for the future and achieve our vision of becoming an outstanding college at the heart of a thriving community, that is first choice for learners and employers”.

Sheena Ramsey, Chief Executive of Knowsley Council, said: “We’re really pleased that Knowsley Community College can now proceed with the plans to relocate into the former Christ the King Centre for Learning building.

“Since the school closed last year, the council has been working hard on proposals to continue with educational provision on the site, and we know local residents have shared our passion to make this happen.

“Knowsley Community College’s commitment to the area is great news for local students who are considering their further education options.  Their relocation to Christ the King allows them to offer the kinds of courses that equip local young people with the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.”

As well as the educational provision on the site, both Knowsley Council and Knowsley Community College are committed to retaining the popular community use of the facilities at Christ the King.  These include the hiring of meeting rooms and sports pitches to local groups, and the opening of the gym facilities to local residents.

During preparatory building work which the Community College now plans to carry out, there may be some temporary disruption to this community use. However, the council and the college will work with community groups to secure temporary sites elsewhere if needed.

A full list of FAQs relating to the relocation are included below:

What is planned for the former Christ the King Centre for Learning site?

Since September 2013, the council has been in discussions with a number of interested parties. An agreement in principle has now been reached with one of these parties, Knowsley Community College. The College has been awarded funding from the Skills Funding Agency to carry out remodelling work at Christ the King CfL, creating world class technical and professional facilities for further and higher education. 

It is anticipated that this work will begin later this year and the College plan to complete the relocation from their existing Rupert Road site to the Christ the King Campus by September 2015.

What are the financial implications of the relocation to the council?

The council will retain ownership of the Christ the King site, and all its obligations under the ongoing PFI agreement. The College will take a long term lease on the building, in keeping with similar arrangements made at other Centres for Learning in the borough which converted into Academies.

Why is building work required on the site, and who is funding this?

The courses offered by the College are different from those offered by the former school therefore the building needs to be adapted in order to meet these differing needs.  The cost of these adaptations will be met by the college, with some of the money coming from a capital fund grant from the Skills Funding Agency.  

What will happen to community use of the facilities?

Both Knowsley Council and Knowsley Community College are committed to retaining the popular community use of the facilities at Christ the King. These include the hiring of meeting rooms and sports pitches to local groups, and the opening of the gym facilities to local residents. 

There will be disruption to the community use of the facilities during the period of building works, although both the Council and the College will work with existing users to identify suitable alternative venues, wherever possible. 

When will the new Community College campus at Christ the King open to students?

The expected opening date is September, 2015.