School's new sports facility cost £1million
A SCHOOL championing health and fitness has opened a £1million sports facility.
Stoke Damerel Community College's principal, Carol Hannaford, said the new building was at the heart of a commitment to inspiring wellbeing.
The school is also backing The Herald's loveLIFE campaign, has taken part in a range of Olympic-inspired events and employed specialist staff to boost fitness of students and their families.
Year 7 students arriving for their first day of secondary school this week were the first to enjoy the new centre, which includes a dance studio, fitness suite and changing rooms.
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The new building, which replaces a dilapidated 1950s block, will be used by students and the wider community.
Mrs Hannaford said: "The Herald has highlighted health inequalities in the city and this new facility is just one of the ways we are promoting health and wellbeing.
"It's something we are taking really seriously.
"A lot of our children come from areas where the health outcomes are challenging.
"Improving health and wellbeing is a really important part of what we want to do for our young people and community.
"We want our children to achieve highly in their courses, get good qualifications and have a career.
"But if we don't educate, help and support them in their health choices, they won't live as long to enjoy that."
She added that, after the most successful Olympic Games for Team GB, the school is expecting the facilities to be in great demand.
Work got under way in December last year to transform the sports changing facilities, with £500,000 funding from the Partnership for Schools organisation (PFS).
The college provided the remaining funds.
The existing two changing rooms have been replaced by four, all with individual shower cubicles and locker facilities for 40 students per room. The upper storey has an art dance studio and fitness area. The block will be made available to local community teams and clubs in the evening and at weekends.
Plymouth-based TEC Construction carried out the project.
The old changing rooms will be refurbished and used to store gym equipment.
Stoke Damerel has competed against other schools in Olympics-inspired events in Plymouth and the county. Pupils also took part in the Big Dance 2012 in May, a world record attempt which was part of the London 2012 Festival.
This year the school has appointed specialist staff, including a full-time health and wellbeing nurse who works with students and families, as well as physical education apprentices and fitness coaches in addition to the PE teaching staff.
The Herald is running the 12-month loveLIFE campaign to encourage people to quit smoking, become healthier and happier.
Sign up now at www.heraldlovelife.co.uk; e-mail email@example.com; or call 01752 765529.