Ambitious plans to improve facilities at Horncastle’s Banovallum School are already paying off.
The school successfully secured Government funding - and planning permission - to upgrade kitchen facilities and to double the size of the dining area.
Work on the kitchen was completed during the summer holidays and attention will now switch to the dining area.
Additional planning has been secured for the construction of a yurt.
If it can be built, the yurt will become the school’s drama studio and an alternative, more intimate performance space for school productions, music performances and art exhibitions.
No details of the funding have been revealed, but it is believed to involve a substantial six-figure investment.
Headteacher Grant Edgar told the News: “This is an exciting time for the school.
“We are already seeing the benefit of the improved kitchen facilities.
“We have doubled the size of the kitchen and replaced all of the old equipment with modern, more efficient cooking apparatus.
“This means that the catering team can spend more time preparing and cooking fresh meals, sourced wherever possible from local suppliers.
“We are already seeing the benefits in the quality of the meals being produced.
“Now that the planning has been granted, we will have larger storage facilities as well, and this will only benefit the students in the variety of meals that can be offered.”
Mr Edgar explained doubling the size of the dining area will ensure students can enjoy meals in a more sociable manner.
Further developments will see the relocation of a large canopy to a different site, which will enable outside eating areas to be developed further.
Mr Edgar paid tribute to Paul Bushell (Premises Manager) and to the catering team, led by Kelly Harrison.
He said: “I would like to pay tribute to Paul Bushell, who has project managed the build.
“It was quite a tight timescale to have it ready for the start of this year and involved a large number of trades to coordinate, but he achieved it comfortably.
“Additionally, our catering team, led by Kelly Harrison have displayed real flexibility and adaptability to provide the students with good quality meals during this time.”
Ms Harrison commented, “I am so excited about the developments on the catering side.
“We are working closely with the Student Council on developing menus and the lay-out and design of the dining area. So far their ideas have been excellent.”
Commenting on the development of the yurt, Mr Edgar revealed a number of issues still had to be overcome.
He added: “This could be an exciting development for the town.
“We are planning on fund-raising for this unique development.
“However, before we do so, we need to examine some of the more mundane aspects.
“ One of the issues is that as a 50-year-old site, we may not have sufficient power capabilities for the yurt. We will be talking to our power suppliers to see if there is scope to improve those facilities.”
• A traditional yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in Central Asia. Modern yurts can be built on a wooden platforms, using more up-to-date and durable materials.