£17m Thomas Gainsborough school in Great Cornard officially opened
- Credit: Archant
A new £17million state-of-the-art school building in west Suffolk has been officially opened by Suffolk’s Lord Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston.
Students moved into the new four-storey Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard at the beginning of the autumn term.
In contrast to the original grey concrete school buildings, built in 1974, the new red-brick facility, which was funded under the Government’s £2billion Priority School Building Programme, is light, airy and energy efficient.
At a special opening ceremony yesterday, attended by representatives from the education authority, the contractors, school governors and local councillors, headteacher Wayne Lloyd gave a speech and the Lord Lieutenant unveiled a plaque before taking a tour of the building.
The 9,124sqm complex was designed by award-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley to have a ‘college’ feel.
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It features informal open-plan sixth-form areas for independent study, a reading room and a top-floor art room that opens out onto a roof terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Helen Yapp, deputy headteacher, said the students were enjoying learning in the new building.
She added: “There’s a sense of calm and openness to the building – I think it has given the students a real sense of pride.
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“Before, we had a very old, cold building that was falling apart and this one is airy and bright – it’s a complete contrast. When you want to raise standards and aspirations, to have a lovely environment like this helps enormously.”
The only former buildings that will remain come next February are the library and the sports hall.
The old Cornard Middle School building next to the new complex will also remain and will be used as a centre for some of the sixth-form lessons.
Headteacher Wayne Lloyd said he was “absolutely thrilled” with the new building which developer Kier Construction described as resembling a “country house in its own parkland”.
He added: “I know the students are equally delighted with the building – it has made them feel valued and invested in. It tells them that the people who manage their education really care about them and want to give them the best-possible environment in which to learn.”