Milestone ceremony at Hastings Academy

The topping out ceremony at The Hastings Academy
The topping out ceremony at The Hastings Academy

A TOPPING-OUT ceremony has been held to mark a milestone in the building of the new Hastings Academy.

The event attended by students, teachers, councillors and sponsors celebrated the completion of the external structure of the new building in Rye Road.

The ceremony tradition takes place when the roof of a building is finished, and is thought to close the building to keep it safe from bad luck.

At the Hastings Academy, paving slabs were signed by everyone present. From the academy this included Rita Richardson, until recently the most senior and long-serving member of staff, and youngest student, Chloe-Lee Holyoake. After the signing, the slabs were hauled up on to the roof using a tower crane and placed over the south wing. Everyone present was able to go on to the roof to watch this.

The new £16 million Hastings Academy, being built by Kier Construction for East Sussex County Council, will replace Hillcrest School with a state-of-the-art facility.

Accommodating up to 900 pupils, it will include a purpose-built drama and performance space, a creative learning centre, a science laboratory, computer suites, an amphitheatre and improved sports facilities, all with fully-integrated special needs provision.

The outside areas will feature landscaped open spaces and an all-weather sports pitch.

Mike Clark, director of estate and facilities management at the University of Brighton, said: “As the lead sponsor of the Hastings Academies programme the university is delighted to reach this important milestone. The new purpose-built facilities are designed to provide a modern learning and working environment for the students and staff of Hastings Academy.”

Denise Westbury-Haines, from sponsors BT, said: “Our thanks and congratulations go to all the staff who have maintained a normal curriculum while the construction has taken place around them. We would also like to thank all the pupils who have contributed to the design and build so far and who continue to demonstrate such a positive commitment to the success of their academy.”

Cllr Nick Bennett, the county council’s lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “Our vision for this new academy was always about state-of-the-art modern facilities where young people would get the best possible chance to learn and achieve. These new buildings are now really taking shape and will provide a fantastic new environment in which I’m sure the pupils will thrive.”

Nick West, contracts manager, Kier Southern, said: “We know that we will be delivering a tremendous 21st century learning environment in which the young people of the town will be able to realise their ambitions.”