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Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 06:50 UK

Rebuilt school opens after arson

The new Penyrheol school building and the site after the fire
The new three-storey building has been built on the site of the teaching block which was destroyed by fire

Pupils are moving into new £9.9m classrooms three years after an arson attack devastated their school.

Penyrheol Comprehensive School in Swansea has been built on the site of the old teaching block which was destroyed by the flames.

Since the fire in early 2006 lessons have been held in temporary classrooms and an annexe building.

Head teacher Alan Tootill said the new main building was a "fabulous place to teach and learn".

The arson attack, which was thought to have started in a bag of paper meant for recycling, left smouldering ruins where a three-storey block of more than 40 classrooms once stood.

The cost of the damage was estimated to be around £8m.

The school's 56 teachers and 36 support staff moved into the building earlier this week, but Friday is the first time Penyrheol's 920 pupils will have seen inside.

The new Penyrheol school building
We discussed the design for many months and the result is an exceptional structure
Tony de la Mare, chair of governors

Mr Tootill said it featured hi-tech facilities and cutting-edge design.

He said: "I'm confident that staff and pupils will be very happy with their new building

"It has professional specifications and its assets such as temperature control and natural light will greatly complement the teaching and learning environment."

Features include a 10m glass frontage to the three-storey entrance, a glass atrium above the technology wing and a high-specification library.

There is also a self-contained music department, a flexible-use dining room and an art department.

Safety features include fire-resistant panels in walls, a sprinkler system throughout and CCTV on all three floors.

Much of the funding for the building came from insurance on the previous block.

Swansea council education cabinet member Mike Day said: "Everybody involved in delivering this fabulous facility on time and on budget deserves praise."

Teachers and pupils will continue to use the 17 classrooms and other facilities in the old annexe.

Chair of governors Tony de la Mare said: "The board of governors is delighted that everybody's hard work has paid off.

Teenager

"We discussed the design for many months and the result is an exceptional structure with purpose-built classrooms and specialist rooms."

A teenager who was 17 at the time of the offence was sentenced to six years in custody after being found guilty by a jury at Swansea Crown Court the following year.

Another teenager who was jointly charged was cleared of the offence.



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Arson inquiry follows school fire
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