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Marathon man and Olympian Dr Ron Hill MBE led the celebrations at the official opening of the newly refurbished Accrington Academy on Wednesday 18th July 2012.
Dr Hill and academy Principal Andrew O’Brien were joined by a host of invited guests including the High Sheriff of Lancashire, Jeremy Gorick Esq, Edward Gould and Jon Coles, Chairman and Chief Executive respectively of United Learning , which sponsors the academy.
During the event, Dr Hill and his fellow guests were given a tour of the academy, which has undergone a £18.5 million transformation, with a combination of new and refurbished facilities including:
  • 242 seat assembly hall
  • Media suite, drama and music suites (including film and recording studios)
  • Restaurant and cyber café 
  • Virtual science lab 
  • Health and beauty suite
  • Dedicated Sixth Form centre 
  • Dance studio
  • Climbing wall
  • Motion analysis suite (sports science)
  • Radio room
  • Drama suite with retractable seating
  • 3 FA standard football pitches
The improvements have also included the installation of a new £1.5 million, six lane swimming pool, built to county standards with spectator seating for 150 and using the latest solar thermal technology.
Commenting on the opening, Accrington Academy Principal Andrew O’Brien said:
This is an incredibly proud and important day for everyone here at Accrington Academy. As sport is one of our specialisms, it’s also particularly fitting that one of the area’s sporting legends, Dr Ron Hill, has helped to officially open our wonderful new facilities.
During the event, Dr Hill unveiled two plaques, with one for the new pool and one for the main building. Dr Hill said:
I am honoured to be invited to officially open Accrington Academy and its new Aquatics Centre and I am certain that they will be a great asset to the area. Exercise, recreation and sport will play a great part in the future health of the nation and this facility will help greatly as swimming is one of the most complete forms of exercise.