Details of plans to redevelop the Uckfield Community Technology College were unveiled yesterday with people given the opportunity to comment on them before a planning application is submitted.
They include a new main building at the front of the Downsview Crescent site on what is currently an under-sized rugby pitch.
The building would be two and three storeys high, sitting lower than the road outside, so only one and two storeys will be visible from there. The building will be inset from the perimeter with all trees retained.
While work progresses students will continue to occupy the existing college main buildings.
They will move into the new accommodation when it is ready while the old sprawl of buildings – excluding the sixth form and art blocks and Pamphilon Theatre building – which are described as no longer fit for purpose, will be demolished.
Temporary classrooms will be needed then until a new southern building goes up next to the Pamphilon Theatre.
The youth centre and huts along the eastern edge of the site are not included in the development.
When finished there will be a new full-sized rugby pitch and a multi-use games area in the centre of the site between the new buildings.
The main entrance to the new northern building which will accommodate classrooms, hall, drama space, and dining area, will be from the existing college drive.
A new car park will be built nearby to replace one at the top of the college drive. Overall there will be the same number of parking spaces as at present.
The accommodation will be for the same number of pupils as now, 1750.
UCTC principal Hugh Hennebry says the plans do not take account of the 1,000 home development coming to Ridgewood Farm but there is scope for further redevelopment on the site, if needed, in the area of the youth centre and huts which are not part of the current plan.
He said it was a very exciting project and he was looking forward to new, first class, teaching and learning facilities.
He said the classes themselves would be light, bright and more spacious than average. They would be well equipped and that would make a real difference.
Temperature control would be much better, no more being far too hot in the summer and far too cold in the winter.
He added: “And the building will be safer, no more 1950s fuses, and the asbestos will all be gone.”
He was looking forward to having an open plan campus with a bigger and better rugby field. The students would still have lots of space at break and lunchtime to spread out and relax between lessons.
If the plans are approved the site for the northern building could be cleared and levelled towards the end of this year and the whole project be completed in two-and-a-half years.
Uckfield town councillor Paul Sparks who is also chair of the Manor Park and Hempstead Fields Residents Association said he was reassured after seeing the plans.
He was concerned that the view of the north building would be very dominant from Downsview Crescent but he was told it would be set back 18 metres from the road and because of the lie of the land most of the building would appear to be single story with part two storey.
“I was also reassured that they plan to keep all the existing trees and plant new trees in the existing gaps. That will be very welcome.
“The thing I am still unhappy about is the car parking arrangements and the movement of traffic around Downsview Crescent at school trip times which I have just experienced myself coming in to this exhibition. It is horrendous.”