Le Rocquier funding bid starts at £7.7m

Le Rocquier School Picture: JON GUEGAN

A MULTI-million pound funding bid to create “fit for purpose” sports facilities at Le Rocquier School could also help address a shortage of large-scale construction projects in Jersey, according to the politician proposing the move.

Deputy Steve Luce’s amendment to the Government Plan – due for debate next month – initially asks for £7.7m to begin a three-year project at the school, which he said could include a new sports centre and outdoor pitches.

In the report accompanying his amendment, Deputy Luce explains that the lack of sporting facilities in general in the east of the Island is a “massive issue”, but that his main concern relates to “the health and safety of the students at Le Rocquier School”.

He said: “The sports hall is a 1970s construction and is in a dangerous condition. The female changing rooms are upstairs with no lift.”

Deputy Luce estimates that the overall project will need £29.8m, spent over three years.

He added: “Members will be rightly asking: ‘What would the project deliver for that money?’. The answer is a sports hall (big enough for eight badminton/netball courts), a fitness gym, a multi-purpose studio, changing rooms, classrooms, PE staff accommodation, and finally a dance studio and, outdoors, a full-size football pitch and two netball courts.

“This is not a ‘nice to have’ list, it is an absolute necessity to provide the basic requirements for Le Rocquier School and the east of the Island.”

Deputy Luce continued: “This project will address the poor school sports facility, and its provision as a dual-use sporting facility will allow the school and community to thrive.

“The outcome will be that the school will have access to a ‘fit for purpose’ range of facilities, and also offer extensive after-school programme of activities.

“Local sports clubs will offer more opportunities to be active for those living in the east of [the] Island.”

Some construction firms have recently warned that they could face a lack of work next year, with one developer claiming there is “no pipeline” of major projects on the horizon.

Deputy Luce said: “Finally, I would point out that we have been told in recent weeks that the Island is facing a shortage of large-scale construction projects. This project would provide and maintain jobs as well as providing some continuity and consistency for the building trades.”

He added: “Government have been consistently criticised by the Fiscal Policy Panel for not spending enough on capital projects. Here is a wonderful opportunity to deliver a much-needed and overdue scheme that benefits not just the children of Le Rocquier School but the whole of the east of the Island.”

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