COWES High School is to be transformed into a vision of a learning model for young people and adults in the 21st century after winning up to £30.5 million to transform it into a modern learning centre.
The bid for the money was made to government by the IW Council last summer and news came through earlier this week it had been successful.
The council and school leaders said they must think revolutionary rather than evolutionary, not building a school but building a learning centre at the heart of the community of Cowes and the Island.
The building, which would be completed in 2009, will be open 48 weeks a year, from 8am to 9pm each day. It will be a centre where young people can learn with their parents, where adults can gain qualifications to improve their life chances and employability or support life-long learning. It will be a place where businesses can develop their staff and work with partners, providing learning opportunities for young people, and where the community can access services.
A key feature will be sustainability and the building will have a zero-carbon footprint, using many green initiatives, including a community travel plan, promoting reductions in vehicle use and emissions.
Cllr Patrick Joyce, cabinet member for education, skills and learning, said he was delighted with the award of up to £30.5 million, which was the total amount the authority asked for.
“Once this modern learning centre has been completed in 2009, the Island will have a top-quality facility it can be proud of, and it will be a great asset to this council’s determination to continue to improve education standards,” said Cllr Joyce.
Cowes High head David Snashall said the school was delighted the Department for Education and Skills had confirmed the money.
“This is an extremely exciting project, which will change the whole way education looks in Cowes,” he said.