First pictures of new Stowmarket High School
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
These are the first pictures of the new £17million Stowmarket High School which has just opened its doors.
It replaces the old 1950s complex, which is to be demolished apart from one small block, and will accommodate up to 1,125 students.
The complex has been built under the Department of Education’s Priority Schools’ Building Programme.
Designed by Jestico and Whiles and built by Wates Construction, the building is a modern ‘super block’ design, allowing a good amount of natural light into classroom spaces and minimising circulation.
The show piece is a three-storey atrium at the centre of the school, with glass-sided balustrading, a central staircase and finished with a large multi-screen video display supplied by the school.
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There are 42 classrooms including design technology, food, photography, music and traditional core subjects such as science and maths.
The space also boasts a main hall, new dining facilities, an activity studio, a learning resource centre and a drama studio. Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan said the new school was an important investment for the rapidly expanding town of Stowmarket.
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He said: “We have worked hard over the past five years to ensure that the new school communicates a message of calm, mature and modern learning for a community that has been starved of investment.
“I think the final product looks great and will help us achieve our ambitions. I am very proud every time I introduce a student to their new school.”
However the new complex does not include investment in exterior facilities and Mr Lee-Allan said he was keen to speak to parties interested in helping the school develop them.
“With Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre being upgraded, the town growing rapidly, the new school building and the potential of significant demand for places at the school outstripping available places, it is so important to maximise the potential of this beautiful, large site,” he said.
“We need better playground facilities, improved service infrastructure, better sports facilities and then we can proudly boast that we are the health, wellbeing and educational campus to make Stowmarket the envy of Suffolk. I will work with every partner I can bring round the table to achieve what this town deserves.”
The school has been on the site in Onehouse Road since the early 1950s when it was the former Stowmarket Grammar School.
It became a modern comprehensive in 1971 and today is a mixed secondary school and sixth form with 728 students from school years 7 to 13.
The school wanted to give former pupils a chance to say farewell to the old site but an open day planned for May was dashed by the coronavirus lockdown crisis.