Feb 29 2012 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
St Ambrose High School
ST Ambrose High School pupils had a tour of their new school building as the £44 million development at Drumpellier Park takes shape.
The new building, at Townhead Road, will not only replace the Coatbridge school’s current premises on Blair Road but will also house Drumpark Secondary, plus community facilities.
Pupils are expected to move into the new building at the end of 2012 – and both they and their teachers are excited about benefiting from the improved facilities.
They include a four-court games hall, gym, changing and referees’ rooms, and six sports pitches plus a separate entrance for community users also booking the sports spaces.
St Ambrose also has an impressive atrium of social space off the main entrance, an assembly hall with a stage and professional lighting control area, an oratory and a huge open-plan art department with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Head teacher Ellen Douglas said: “It really looks amazing and it’s hard to single out one favourite space as there are improvements across the board.
“Once you get inside the building you really appreciate the scale of the place, and it’s really exciting to think about it being finished and us moving in.
“We’ve given a lot of feedback on the design and all that’s come through; it’s nice to see the results of our input and to feel we’ve been listened to as we can see that all over the building.”
School leader Nicole Mulholland, house leader Jaskaran Singh and fellow sixth-year pupil Michael Vallely became the first St Ambrose pupils to see inside the new building last week.
They were hugely impressed by the new building, saying: “It’s amazing; there’s so much more space and lots more facilities.
“It’s huge compared to the current building, and areas like the stage, drama areas and sixth-year common room are the best improvements.”
Among the hundreds of workers on the site is former St Ambrose pupil Cieran McGuinness, a bricklaying apprentice learning his trade by building a new home for his old school.
The 18-year-old, a keen footballer, twice won Scottish schools’ trophies with the Coatbridge team and was part of St Ambrose’s 2010 British Cup-winning side.
Cieran, who is one of 60 young people learning a trade at Schools and Centres 21 developments across North Lanarkshire, said: “I still keep in touch with my teachers and they’re always asking how it’s progressing.
“We didn’t even have our own pitch when I was at St Ambrose, but the new building has one grass, four artificial and one for Gaelic football, so I hope the pupils who’ll go to this school will realise how lucky they are!
“I spend half my time at college and half on site, and every time I come back from college I can’t believe how much has been achieved – the building looks so impressive and it’s been really amazing to see it taking shape.”
Councillor Jim Logue, the learning and leisure convener, said: “It’s fantastic to see such progress and to get inside the building and see how it’s coming along.
“It’s highly impressive; this investment is about improving teaching and learning and getting first-rate community and leisure facilities for the area.”