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A new and innovative community hybrid facility has now formally been opened at the former Downside middle school site. The site is now home to Barton Primary School, East Newport Family Centre and the Downside Community Centre.

Over £1.37 million has been spent on a complete remodelling and refurbishment of the whole site to provide suitable accommodations for all. The project was funded by a combination of Section 106 monies (provided as part of the development of Pan Meadows), with additional funding from the council’s capital programme and other funds, such as Schools Condition Capital and Basic Need Funding.

Barton Primary School now has sufficient accommodation to allow them to grow to a 1.5 Form Entry School and has also benefited from more modern and flexible teaching facilities.

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The Community Centre now has a new open and spacious café designed to meet the needs of its users from within the community, with new catering equipment and furniture. This area also has an IT Suite and new office accommodation along with a refurbished teaching kitchen and meeting rooms.

Barnardos East Newport Family Centre is now located in more suitable and spacious accommodation and has now become the hub for the West and Central Locality which will allow for the provision of more extensive services.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council and executive member for children’s services, said:

“This is a fantastic example of working with the community to deliver a facility that meets the future needs of the Pan area, in this integrated community hub. By combining all of these facilities on one site it has provided a central community hub and enables all of these services to work more closely together.”

Mark Snow, head teacher at Barton Primary School, said:

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“I would like to thank all involved in bringing this project to fruition. It has been an exciting project that has enabled us to develop a new school site with the capacity for us to grow. The children have really appreciated getting used to our new building and the space we now have to broaden our opportunities for all pupils.

“The transition from the old school to the new has worked well and the children and staff are loving the refurbished interior. We are greatly anticipating the next phase of development so that we can make the external part of the school as good as the inside and be proud of an amazing facility that will leave a lasting legacy for our children and community. This a really important development for the area and what the community and school deserve. We love it!”

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