AMBITIOUS £15.5million plans to revamp a secondary school with modern new facilities could get under way within months.

Greensward Academy, in Hockley, is set to submit a planning application to Rochford District Council.

This will propose replacing half of its buildings with a new lifelong learning centre, including an IT suite and library.

The school was awarded the cash by the Department for Education in January 2011 and staff have been drawing up proposals ever since for the revamp.

Principal Debbie Stokes said: “In my 25th year at this school, I am pleased to see we are getting plans under way to transform the building, to enable us to have a 21st century learning environment.

“The changes will be quite striking and make us more accessible for members of the public.

“We want this building to become the hub of the community and hope it will be used for out of hours learning by our neighbours, as well as by our students.

“We are very excited about the future of Greensward Academy.”

The school already offers a hairdressing salon, construction services and evening classes, such as flower arranging, to members of the public.

Staff hope even more people from outside the school will use its facilities, after the lifelong learning centre is built.

Mrs Stokes said: “We haven’t decided opening times yet.

“However, we would like to open as many facilities as possible during the evening.

“The majority of the feedback we had at a meeting the other night was very positive.”

Rachel Williams, deputy director of facilities at the Academies Enterprise Trust which oversees the school, confirmed if everything goes to plan it is possible building work could be underway in as little as three months time.

It is likely the work will have to take place while the school is open.

Because of this, the team at Greensward admitted it is likely to be a slow process.

The proposed opening date for the £15.5million revamp is September 2015.

Mrs Williams said: “We are very close to submitting our planning application for approval.

“All being well, we would hope to be able to launch the building work during the long summer break.”