Sporting icon Shanaze Reade told pupils she would feel honoured to step into Whalley Range High School each day, because their new facilities will help them achieve their dreams.
The British Olympic Team BMX cyclist and 2010 world champion was speaking at the official opening on Friday (25 November) of the new teaching block, which is part of a £17m investment in the Manchester girls' school.
Shanaze said: "The right facilities make such a difference as I know from my own experience. I can train at the Platt Lane Complex and the National Cycling Centre and they make such a massive difference to me and my performance.
"And in the same way, if I came to this school, I would feel honoured to step into a great facility like this every morning. Good facilities help with the next step to achieving a dream."
Pupils at the school - which is a specialist college for business, enterprise and sport - now have a modern teaching block, comprising a new sixth form centre and an outdoor courtyard covered by a translucent canopy through Manchester's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.
Manchester has a combined BSF and Academies programme with an unprecedented £500m capital investment to rebuild or refurbish all 33 of the city's high schools, seven of which will be specialist academies.
Work started at Whalley Range High School, which has 1,550 pupils, in March 2010. The first phase to be completed was the new £1.5m kitchen and dining area which has doubled the capacity of students able to eat together. The construction system of new kitchen and dining facilities was a first for a Manchester school - as the whole area was built off-site and delivered in 26 prefabricated units.
The new teaching block with its elevated overhang is visible from all areas of the Princess Parkway - especially a night, when the building is lit with coloured lights. It is now home to a new sixth form centre, which has flexible learning spaces, integrated classrooms, technology and art facilities. Building work was completed in Autumn this year.
Other improvements include the replacement of corridor lighting with modern energy efficient units controlled by daylight sensors. The main school power and data distribution system was also replaced to ensure the highest level of IT performance.
After the official opening Shanaze sat down for a question and answer session with pupils. When asked what goes through her mind when competing she replied: "I just want to be the best I can be. I break every race down into small parts and deal with it that way."
There were no surprises when she said her main goal in the future was to be Olympic Champion. But there was laughter after a final question when the formidable athlete was forced to admit she is scared of spiders.
Councillor Afzal Khan, Executive Member for Children's Services at Manchester City Council, said: "It was fitting that an inspirational building was opened by an inspirational athlete. The ethos behind our new school buildings is to provide 21st century facilities that have infinite uses for pupils and the wider community."
Patsy Kane, Head teacher at Whalley Range High School, said: "We'd like to say thank you to Manchester City Council and the BSF team for these tremendous facilities. Our pupils are already making the most of them and will flourish in a space which encourages aspiration and complements our teaching style."
GB Building Solutions were the main contactor on the Whalley Range High School project and the architects were Ellis Williams.
Whalley Range High School is a multi-cultural inner city girls' comprehensive. It has approximately 1,550 pupils, including 250 sixth-formers.