All who were not absolutely engrossed in the conker competition at last week’s welcome event couldn’t help but notice that we have a Senior School sports hall that is more ventilated than normal. Happily this is not the result of some sort of natural disaster, but is a planned refurbishment. All things being equal we should be using our shiny new multi -purpose hall this time next year. It will become a key building on the senior campus and will be a focus for numerous activities.
Much has been written about educational buildings, a notable author on the subject being Dr. David Thornburg who talks of buildings and learning spaces being campfires, watering holes, caves and mountain tops. Our new hall will have all four spaces. The main hall with retractable seating and excellent sound system will allow us to perform and tell stories through drama, music and communal gatherings such as assemblies. It will be our campfire space. Storytelling is the base of all education and it is only appropriate that we have space in which to express ourselves. We will not forget the hall’s original purpose and we will enjoy a better playing surface and extended climbing wall. In front of the current skeleton structure will be a gathering space, the watering hole where we can meet, exchange information and celebrate success be it sporting or artistic. It will also be the place where teachers, parents and students meet to discuss progress at parents’ evenings.
The cave is a place to reflect, to be quiet and to contemplate – a private space. Under our hall will be space for lockers and pleasant changing facilities, a place to ready oneself for a learning experience. On the second floor of the new extension will be a fitness room. Whilst anything but cave-like it will be a place for the individual to pit themselves against themselves, a place of personal challenge.
But what of the mountain top? Our hall will become the place where, each week, we celebrate the values of the School, where we acknowledge those who have challenged themselves and demonstrated leaps in their leaning, the place where the lessons of both victory and defeat are acknowledged. It will be the venue for our prize giving ceremony, a rite of passage for those leaving to pursue learning outside the school gates.
The building of a new hall is a confident statement about our school. We are investing heavily in the future with the development of an edifice that will become a place that for different reasons will be remembered by the pupils who have passed through its doors. Indeed, after much planning it is satisfying to see this expression of our confidence as a school and furthermore our commitment to the development of young people through the provision of excellent facilities.