New school hopes to defy the Millennium curse

1 Feb 01
The most expensive building venture undertaken by English Partnerships, the government's national urban regeneration and development agency, faces its acid test this week when the London Borough of Greenwich's £6m Millennium Primary School opens its doors

02 February 2001

As teachers and 200 pupils enter their new state-of-the-art educational environment on February 5, they will be hoping this project is safe from the Millennium curse which has hit the high-profile but problematic bridge and nearby Dome.

The agency used funds from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to enable lead contractor Wates Construction to include a number of innovative and environmentally sensitive systems in the construction of the building.

Geoff Leigh, assistant technical director at English Partnerships, defended the cost of the school. 'The school cost more than the average Private Finance Initiative school but it is more expensive simply because more is being given,' he said.

'You have to take into account things like the crèche, the size of the pre-school and special education needs provision in addition to the general quality of the architecture. None of this can be achieved for nothing.'

The project is intended as a practical demonstration of the government's vision of sustainable urban communities. The purpose-built school boasts an array of IT features, including computers in every classroom, video-conferencing equipment and innovative climate control systems.

The school and its associated health centre will be at the heart of the nearby Millennium Village community whose residents will be encouraged to use its facilities after hours.


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