Multi-million pound development for Suffolk independent school

Building for the future at St Joseph's college, Ipswich Principal Mrs Danielle Clarke and Chair of

Building for the future at St Joseph's college, Ipswich Principal Mrs Danielle Clarke and Chair of Governors Mr Paul Clement.

One of Suffolk’s best-known independent schools has launched a multi-million pound development plan that could see its campus transformed over the next 10 to 15 years.

St Joseph’s College bought the freehold of its 62-acre off Belstead Road in Ipswich just over a year ago and it has now announced its “Building for the Future” programme which is aimed at transforming its facilities.

Among the improvements being developed are a new sixth-form centre, an extended Prep school and swimming pool, a theatre and a new creative and performing arts department.

It also plans to upgrade and extend its boarding facilities and to build new sports pavilions.

The plans were outlined by college principal Danielle Clarke and chair of governors Paul Clement. There is no firm timescale – and no details of the cost have been confirmed.

However Ms Clarke said the first phase of work would start soon: “While this is a long-term plan, it will commence imminently.

“I am delighted to announce that the Board of Governors has approved the development this summer of a new design technology centre, creating a science and technology zone which builds particularly on our strength in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.”

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Mr Clement said the long-term project would transform St Joseph’s: “These proposals set out an ambitious plan for our future. This ambition will help to provide current and future pupils with modern, fit for purpose facilities and accommodation which will enhance their overall experience, as well as the environment in which they learn and develop as young people.”

Most of the 600-plus students at St Joseph’s go home every day – but the college does aim to boost its boarding facilities by developing Birkfield House, the original school building, as the junior boarding house for 90 boys and girls.

It also aims to build a new sixth-form boarding house for 60 students.

A new reception building is to be developed – and the school is to develop a new “Classroom for the Future” with high-technology facilities for teaching students.

A new sports pavilion, linked to the sports hall, is to be built – and the existing cricket pavilion on the other side of the sports fields will be redeveloped.