St Dunstan’s College pupils and staff mark first day in new build
St Dunstan’s College started a new chapter in its long history on Tuesday 20 April as pupils and staff moved into the new development.
The development, which cost around £25million, includes a new Junior School building, STEM Centre and Sixth Form Centre. The state-of-the-art facilities are the most significant additions to the College site since its foundation in 1888, and will ensure St Dunstan’s continues to provide an education that is ‘ahead of current time’ as the founders wanted back in 1888.
Speaking about the special day, Headmaster Mr Nicholas Hewlett said: ‘It was delightful to see the beaming faces of our pupils as they entered such inspirational new buildings this morning.
‘I do not think the significance was lost on any of them; such a monumental moment in our history has been greeted by our whole community with palpable joy and a real sense of pride both in what we have achieved to get to this point, as well as what the future holds for St Dunstan’s.’
During the first day, junior pupils were given a tour of their new surroundings exploring the three floors of classrooms and the outside space which now features a modern multi-use games area.
Head of Junior School, Miss Laura Whitwood added: ‘The 20th April will mark a day in St Dunstan’s history that our Junior School will never forget. It has certainly felt like the first day of a new beginning for us all and nothing could beat the joy, excitement and energy we all experienced today.’
‘After our teachers put on their ‘tour guide’ hats, the pupils spoke with great delight and enthusiasm about their new classrooms, specialist facilities, play spaces, MUGA and dedicated outside learning areas for every class. The pupils are delighted to be settling into their new home and we look forward to the limitless learning opportunities available to us in our new state-of-the art Junior School. What a wonderful memory to add to their St Dunstan’s shield.’
In the Sixth Form Centre, the new café had a selection of treats available to Sixth Formers including croissants, pastries, and Oreo doughnuts. There was also a hydration station with green tea and cucumber, blueberry, and basil juice.
Designed by Bond Bryan and constructed by Willmott Dixon, the new development is sited adjacent to the historic Headmaster’s house, which is now the entrance to the Junior School. The Junior School and STEM and Sixth Form Centre are then connected by a stunning glass atrium, which looks out onto the school fields and Wellness Centre.
St Dunstan’s Bursar, Mrs Clair Wilkins said: ‘This project has been a significant part of our lives for the past four years, and I was so delighted to welcome our fabulous pupils through the doors today. Seeing the building come alive with hundreds of excited and curious young people, makes all the hard work worth it.
‘It is great to have facilities that match the high expectations of our pupils, and I am really looking forward to watching them learn in these new inspirational environments.’
An official opening ceremony will take place later this year, when hopefully Covid-19 restrictions have lifted.