Plans lodged to improve and update special needs school

GLASGOW'S top special needs school is to gain a new-build residence designed by an award-winning architect.

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The existing East Park School and, below, Alan Dunlop's plans for the new accommodation, classrooms and open spaces
The existing East Park School and, below, Alan Dunlop's plans for the new accommodation, classrooms and open spaces

Plans have been lodged for residential and respite accommodation and new teaching space for East Park School in Maryhill.

The buildings have been designed by Alan Dunlop, the man behind the cutting-edge Hazelwood School, in Bellahouston Park.

Judy Cromarty, executive director of East Park, said: "This is an exciting development for the school.

"We're seeking to further enhance provision by creating bespoke teaching and care accommodation in the heart of Glasgow for children with the most complex additional support needs from across Scotland.

"We're delighted to be working with Alan following his innovative, effective and beautiful work on Hazelwood."

In a series of articles earlier this year, the Evening Times outlined the work of East Park as it celebrates its 140th anniversary.

Still based on its original site, on Maryhill Road, the school caters for 45 pupils, aged from five to 25, some of whom live on site.

Over the years the school has expanded and adapted and now plans to replace its existing respite centre, Katrine House, with new, state-of-the-art accommodation.

Mr Dunlop said: "As a Glaswegian I was very surprised that I had never heard of East Park before, especially given its good reputation.

"The front of East Park is very imposing and closed off and that was something I wanted to change - to make it more welcoming."

Plans submitted to Glasgow City Council for approval show that the school's carpark is to be moved.

In its place will be bungalow-style residential studios, for four young people, and respite accommodation for two people.

It will have a pedestrian entrance from Maryhill Road and give young people a green space at the front of the school to use in good weather.

Mr Dunlop added: "Katrine House, the current respite centre, is a very institutional looking building, so I wanted to change that.

"For the young people this is their permanent home, so it needs to be homely and give them a sense of independence, and for the teachers, they need pleasant classrooms.

"It all has to be sensitively done but also take into account pupil safety."

If planning permission is granted work will begin in the summer to demolish Katrine House.

Construction work on the two new buildings will take two years to complete.

Mr Dunlop added: "I had thought Hazelwood would be the last commission of that type that I undertook.

"It's very rare that a school has the time to work with an architect but Judy and her team have really spent time making sure everything is absolutely right.

"It's a really special commission for me, working on a very special school and I'm delighted to be involved."

catriona.stewart @eveningtimes.co.uk

Education

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