Bideford College's principal and top students have been given their first official tour around the new school site to see how work is progressing. Construction company Morgan Ashurst, based at Castle Park Road, Barnstaple, is building the £44 million Bid

BIDEFORD College's principal and top students have been given their first official tour around the new school site to see how work is progressing.Construction company Morgan Ashurst, based at Castle Park Road, Barnstaple, is building the £44 million Bideford College for Devon County Council. Area director Chris Spear showed principal Veronica Matthews along with head boy Paul Harris and Katie Leveridge, the college's eco committee member, how much work has already been undertaken since they moved on to the site in February.Mr Spear said: "Sustainability is high on the agenda for the new school and we will be doing everything we can to ensure it has a low carbon footprint. We will do this by incorporating a number of green features such as rainwater harvesting and heating the building using a biomass boiler which uses locally produced wood. A green 'living' roof will also be incorporated into the design and we are committed to using local labour and a local supply chain wherever possible."As part of the overall design, the new college will feature external courtyards which will provide access to each separate teaching wing. There will also be internal courtyards called 'Winter Gardens', which will encourage group teaching and self study as well as offering a fun break-out space and eating area.During the construction phase of the project students will be involved as much as possible. Morgan Ashurst has provided a viewing room overlooking the site to allow students to study every aspect of the construction process as part of their GCSE science coursework. Veronica Matthews said: "This project has always been regarded by many of us as a once in a lifetime opportunity - the chance to design and 'build a school of the future' that will have a very significant impact on thousands of individual learners and their families during its lifespan and, through that, to have a genuine influence on the local community. "It is fantastic to see the work on the new site under way and to recognise the hard work and expertise that has brought us to this point. As end users we have worked alongside designers, planners, architects, surveyors of all sorts and, of course, construction experts to ensure that the final design will meet the needs of individual students and the College as a whole. I have been reassured by the commitment and dedication of the construction experts with whom we are working. "I, for one, look forward to seeing the building evolve over the next two years and to the whole process of planning the move and leading the College into what will be a new chapter in its history."Work on the new college is due to be completed by August 2011.Page 1 of 2