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Norwich event foiled by Royal wedding

Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince William and Kate Middleton.

While many people are organising events to mark the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, one Norwich school has been forced to cancel one.

Norwich High School for Girls' new sixth form centre, the opening of which has been rearranged because of the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Norwich High School for Girls was planning an opening ceremony for its £1.1m sixth form extension on April 29.

Work was going on to organise the big event – but then the Prince and Miss Middleton stole the school’s thunder by naming the same date for their nuptials.

Headmaster Jason Morrow said there was no question of trying to go on with the show.

He said: “We are having to rearrange it. We figured straight away that we would have to look for another date.

“We will probably try to do it earlier that week or at the start of May.”

He added: “Obviously we’ve got a bit of competition. Exciting as the opening may be, it might be unpopular with the staff and students if I make it go ahead on April 29.”

It is not the first time that the extension scheme has run into difficulties.

The Newmarket Road school has already had to radically alter the design of the planned building so that it does not interfere with the roots of a wellingtonia tree in the grounds.

The problem significantly affected the design of the building, which had to be switched from traditional foundations to a raised design to preserve the air and water supply to the tree – also known as a giant sequoia.

It added time and cost to the project, overseen by constructor JS Hay, which is now expected to be completed within two months.

There was also a further delay because regular rain during autumn 2010 meant the developer was unable to put fireproof paint on its steel frame.

The new block, which will be used by the students as soon as it is open, includes an eye-catching “drum” design, with wood cladding. But the drum did not originally exist in the plans, only emerging after the ancient tree intervened.

The centre will comprise a lecture theatre, cafe, common room, break-out study areas, an art studio, a sculpture garden and a careers centre.

Do you have an education story for the Evening News? Call education reporter Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk

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