By DAVID MARSH A SCHOOL sports hall destroyed by fire is to be rebuilt in a £2.5m scheme councillors hope will help to regenerate a former Leeds mining community.
Work on the new facilities at Brigshaw High School, Kippax, is likely to start later this year after Leeds City Council's Executive Board approved the project.
A four-court sports hall will be built on the site of the previous sports hall which was destroyed by fire in December last year.
The new facility will also feature a gymnasium, a dance studio, a fitness centre, a climbing wall and changing rooms.
Security features will include sprinklers and a monitored intruder and fire alarm system.
Work is due for completion in July 2005 as part of a plan to restore the sports facilities for the school and local community.
The funding for the scheme has come from the insurance settlement received from the fire, Leeds City Council, Education Leeds and a contribution from the school.
The approval of the sports hall project is another sporting boost for the school. It was recently given the go-ahead for a scheme supported by the New Opportunities Fund for a new floodlit synthetic sports pitch, mountain bike and cycle cross track, car park and access road, scheduled to open early next year.
Coun Keith Wakefield (Lab, Kippax and Methley) said: "It is very good news that things are on course for both of these projects to come to fruition and help in the regeneration of our former mining communities.
"The fire was a major blow for the school but these brand new facilities will hopefully be a great success, used not only by the children but for the local community to make the most of too.
"The new sports hall and sports pitch will hopefully allow Brigshaw to stand out as a centre for excellence in terms of sports facilities in an area with a tradition of sporting activity. I look forward to seeing them when they are finished."
Coun Keith Parker (Lab, Kippax and Methley) added: "It is marvellous news that the new sports hall is going to built. I am sure it will be a wonderful facility for both the children and the community to enjoy and in particular will help the school go from strength to strength in the future following the fire."