WORK will start this month on the multi-million pound expansion of a Worcester school.

Nunnery Wood High School is spending £2.85m on a state-of-the-art extension to house a new drama studio, design and technology workshops, science labs and classrooms.

The Spetchley Road school has appointed Malvern construction firm Speller Metcalfe’s Small Works division to carry out the development, which is due for completion in March next year.

Builders have started on the new extension, which will have both single and two-storey elements, and the existing block will be demolished during the year-long scheme.

Alun Williams, headteacher, said: “These are very exciting times here at Nunnery Wood at the start of 2013 as we are delighted to announce that our building project has received planning permission and that Speller Metcalfe has been awarded the contract to construct the building.

“Although there will be some disruption over the next 12 months, we are fortunate that the new building is to be sited at one end of the school and so school life will be able to carry on as normal.”

Plans for the project were approved by Worcester city councillors in November.

A report put before the planning committee said the existing block was “of a tired appearance” and the new one would be 27 metres away from the nearest home, preventing overlooking. It also said the new block would come with eight new parking spaces, but “no increase in staff or pupil numbers”, and there were no objections from highways officers at the county council.

Bill Cave, director of Speller Metcalfe’s Small Works team, said: “The School will be able to deliver its pupils up-to-date classrooms and amenities that cater for learning needs of pupils in 2012 and beyond.

“Expansion plans include design and technology workshops, science labs, classrooms and a drama studio that will double up as the school hall – complete with orchestra pit, technician’s booth and retractable seating.”

While Speller Metcalfe has nearly 20 years’ experience working on education projects, which locally include King’s School, Worcester Sixth Form College and the University of Worcester, this will be the first academy for the building contractor.

Mr Cave added: “We will treat this as any of our other projects, liaising with the local community and the school to minimise disruption and ensure we can be flexible with their timetable and needs.”