School completes Old Library revamp

January 31 2017

BUILDING work to transform the old Fishponds Library is finally complete, enabling community groups and organisations to rent out space.

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BUILDING work to transform the old Fishponds Library is finally complete, enabling community groups and organisations to rent out space.

The library belongs to Fishponds Church of England Academy following lengthy negotiations with Bristol City Council.

The school will use the building for various activities, including a breakfast club and Esol classes, but wants to hire out the space at other times.

Academy business manager Helen Godfrey said that building work took longer than expected but it has been worth the wait.

"It's taken a while for the refurbishment because the building was in such a dire state. We knew that to an extent but to do it up properly needed a lot of work. In fact the only original things left inside are the skirting boards. 

"It's a total transformation. It's a clean, safe and up-to-date space. It's a fantastic asset and an incredible space for learning and for making those links with our families and the community."

The school has already used the building for its Year 6 summer performance and a meeting room on the mezzanine floor is used most days by staff. Plans are also in the pipeline to use it for drama and music lessons.

The space, which can fit 150 people, also boasts two kitchens - a small one which can be used for preparing hot drinks and a larger one which is used for school breakfast club and cookery lessons. There are toilets, baby change facilities and the building is wheelchair friendly.

The library, which was formerly a picture house, closed in December 2011 when facilities moved to Robinson House, a council customer service point in nearby Hockey's Lane.

One of the first jobs carried out when the school took ownership of the building at the end of 2014 was to repaint its salmon pink exterior a smart pale blue to match the school's colours.

Work on its interior has been continuing ever since and was finally completed towards the end of January.

The school wants to encourage community groups to rent the space when it's not being used by pupils. It can be hired out during the day and on evenings. The entire space can be hired or it can be partitioned off into three separate spaces.

There is a site manager who looks after the building to make sure it is clean and tidy and tea and coffee is fully stocked.

Ms Godfrey said: "We're in the process of drawing up a flyer and getting photographs taken so we can 'launch' but we are ready to let the premises out.

"It's already being hired for a stay and play morning on Tuesdays and also for a sing and rhyme group on Thursdays which are both used by young families in the neighbourhood. It's also been used for children's parties.

"It could be used by all sorts of groups and activities. We've had music and movement, yoga as well as all-day training sessions. Other schools throughout Bristol have also used it but up until now I've been dubious about renting it out while I still had people working on the building.

"The work has now been finished and we're ready to go!"

Anyone interested in hiring space should phone the school on 0117 903 0491.