THE £2.5MILLION expansion of a Chorley school has been marked with a special ceremony.

A new single storey building at Holy Cross Catholic High School includes six new classrooms and also a specialist dance and drama studio.

Work has also been carried out on the existing school buildings creating two new science labs and modernising several specialist teaching areas.

The work has being completed thanks to investment by Lancashire County Council and the Liverpool Archdiocese.

The school, in Myles Standish Way, needed to expand to be able to offer the increased demand for places now and in the future.

It will now be able to admit 195 new pupils a year, up from 165, providing additional places needed due to a rising birth rate and significant housing development in the area.

The £2.5m extension was designed in-house by the county council and built by Walter Carefoot & Sons Construction Ltd, of Longridge.

Vice chairman of the County Council, Anne Cheetham, attended the event and said: "This popular school has been over-subscribed for a number of years now, so it is a great pleasure to be at the opening of the extension that will increase its capacity and allow many more children to enjoy their education here.

"The new building is needed as the school is very popular and so there is a need to meet the additional demand for places now and in the future.

"We are constantly reviewing changing demographic factors to make sure the number and location of the school places we provide are adequate throughout Lancashire.

"The good news is that more children will be able to enjoy learning in a more modern environment."

County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Schools, also spoke at the event.

She said: "I've just seen for myself the fantastic new facilities that have been created for the children at this school.

"The pupils are absolutely thrilled with the facilities, which will make a real difference to their time at the school, and for many generations of children in the future. Congratulations to everyone involved."

Ivan Gaughan, headteacher, said: "The new building has made such a huge difference to what we can offer to pupils, parents, and the community at our school.

"It was great to be able to celebrate the new school building at the official opening, and importantly it gave people the opportunity to see our fantastic new facilities for themselves."