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Language centre plan for Wymondham College

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:19 14 July 2010

The nissen hut that is to be kept as the chapel at Wymondham College.

The nissen hut that is to be kept as the chapel at Wymondham College.

Adam Gretton

They have formed a familiar part of a Norfolk school for decades and serve as a reminder of its former life as a second world war military hospital.

But students and teachers are set to end their lessons at the wartime buildings at Wymondham College after plans were submitted for a state-of-the-art foreign languages centre.

They have formed a familiar part of a Norfolk school for decades and serve as a reminder of its former life as a second world war military hospital.

But students and teachers are set to end their lessons at the wartime buildings at Wymondham College after plans were submitted for a state-of-the-art foreign languages centre.

The school site at Morley, near Wymondham, was once littered with Nissen huts and other temporary buildings as a hospital for the 2nd Air Division of the US 8th Army Air Force between 1943 and 1945.

But Norfolk's only state-boarding school, which opened in 1951, will lose its last wartime classroom, if a planning application for a new international centre for modern foreign languages is approved.

Governors at Wymondham College have submitted the £1m proposals to South Norfolk Council to replace the 1940s buildings with nine new classrooms. The scheme aims to strengthen the school's specialism in modern languages and help forge links with educational establishments across the world.

Melvyn Roffe, principal of Wymondham College, said the existing languages classrooms, which were originally used as hospital storerooms, were the last second world war buildings to be used for teaching.

He added that the development would complete a programme of replacing the “functional” but “inadequate” and “environmentally inefficient” Nissen huts that began in 1993.

“They were flexible spaces for dormitories, teaching buildings, and staff accommodation but were only supposed to be up for maybe five years. The fact that we were still using them well into the 90s was not ideal,” he said.

Plans for the 830sqm international centre between the sports hall, water tower and library, would also include an IT suite to enable students to communicate with partner schools in China, America, Czech Republic, Uganda, Germany, France and Spain by video link.

Mr Roffe added that Wymondham College would never lose all of its Nissen huts because the school chapel was a Grade II listed building. The existing languages accommodation would be used to house administration staff and college archives.

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