New classrooms are being built at Garon Park sports ground, marking a step forward in plans for Southend United to move on from Roots Hall football stadium.
The Blues will move out of their current home in Victoria Avenue once a new stadium is built at Fossetts Farm, off Eastern Avenue, making way for a development of 502 new homes at Roots Hall.
The club is set to move its educational facilities out of Roots Hall to Garon Park, if planning permission is granted.
Retrospective planning permission is being sought for five temporary two-storey classrooms to accommodate up to 80, 16-19 year olds participating in educational courses operated by the Southend United Community Educational Trust.
The trust offers “alternative learning opportunities for young people, including vocational and academic pathways”.
The construction of the classes by the Garon Park Community Interest Company is already underway.
Clive Shiret from the company, said: “The classrooms are getting there and started a couple of months ago. Southend United Community and education Interest Trust are moving in there.
“It’s all part of their moving out of Roots Hall for that development. They need somewhere much quicker than they thought they were going to. They use our site every day anyway. They use our 3G pitch. It’s all to do with giving those kids a chance.”
Dale Spiby from Southend United Community and Educational Interest Trust, said: “We are putting some classrooms at Garons Park we are moving there from classrooms at the stadium just until we get the new stadium built then we’ll relocate to the new stadium.
“It’s for our BTec Level 2 and Level 3 programme in sport. They study with us 12-16 hours a week and on top of that they train four times a week at Garons. The ground works have been done. We’re not building anything. It’s just cabins.
In an application to planning officers Garon Park Community Interest Company said: “The organisation seeks to establish a sustainable centre of excellence for sport and wellness which benefits the local community.
For further information on the courses offered by the trust contact Ross Johnson at email@example.com or call 01702 341351.