Two sites in Brighton and Hove have been named as possible locations for a site for the proposed new secondary school in the city.
They are an old school building on the main City College site in Pelham Street, Brighton, and the Brighton General Hospital site at the top of Elm Grove.
The Pelham Street site is believed to be the preferred option.
Brighton University gained government approval earlier this year to open a free school for secondary age pupls, with the aim of opening in September 2018 and admitting 180 pupils a year.
Brighton and Hove City Council is working with the university and the Education Funding Agency (EFA), a national quango, to identify a site for the new school.
Any decision to adapt a particular site would be subject both to planning permission and the agreement of the EFA, which is part of the Department forEducation.
Negotiations are under way with the site owners – City College Brighton and Hove and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is considering the university’s interest having reviewed its property and buildings as part of an estates plan. Parts of the Brighton General site are earmarked for possible disposal. The site is likely to stay in NHS use for the near future.
City College recently proposed a merger with Northbrook College in Worthing. The new college would be called the Greater Brighton and Sussex Institute of Arts and Technology and would continue to use much of Pelham Road site.
The council said: “If sufficient funding can be found for the project, it would enable some of the site to be used to create the proposed free school. City College is working with the local authority to explore all the options for the site.
“A decision on a preferred site needs to have been made by the time the council starts a formal consultation on possible new secondary school admissions arrangements for the city in the autumn.”
The deputy chairman of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, Councillor Daniel Chapman, said: “The number of secondary school pupils in the city is set to increase in the coming years and the proposed new free school is a key part of our strategy for accommodating them all.
“We will need to change our secondary school admission arrangements for the city in 2018 because of the rise in pupil numbers and the proposed new school in the city.
“We are currently undertaking an engagement exercise regarding secondary school catchment areas to get residents’ views on what sort of admissions arrangements they want in future.
“We fully understand that residents want to know where the new school will be – and so do we.
“The process of acquiring an appropriate site is complex. There is no ideal site in the city that is currently empty and available.
“However, I can assure residents that we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help the University of Brighton find a site for their free school.”