St Albans primary school opens new building following revamp

PUBLISHED: 12:34 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:34 16 May 2016

Former Garden Fields pupil Mabel Roe, 101, cuts the ribbon to open the new buildings.

Former Garden Fields pupil Mabel Roe, 101, cuts the ribbon to open the new buildings.

Archant

Pupils at a St Albans school have been settling into their new surroundings after a revamp means they can now work in a vibrant new learning environment.

Head of Garden Fields Chris Jukes opens the new building with Mayor of St Albans Cllr Salih Gaygusuz.Head of Garden Fields Chris Jukes opens the new building with Mayor of St Albans Cllr Salih Gaygusuz.

Garden Fields JMI School held a grand opening for the new school building, which will eventually accommodate 210 more pupils thanks to funding from Herts County Council.

Headteacher Mr Chris Jukes said: “The children are settling in extremely well and are getting into the routine of the new building.”

In order for the expansion to go ahead, St Albans Music School moved from the Garden Fields site to Townsend C of E (VA) Secondary School last year, and this space was extended and remodelled to create new classrooms.

The main building was also remodelled to create space for the school to provide one extra form of entry.

People gather for the opening of the new buildings at Garden Fields School.People gather for the opening of the new buildings at Garden Fields School.

Mr Jukes said: “The children are enjoying the changes; there’s a different atmosphere and it’s really refreshing – both the children and teachers are getting used to the new rooms they’re in and the new resources they have.

“Everyone’s excited about the new building, It’s such a difference from when we started in September when we were squashed into rooms while building works were going on.

“We’re up on the hill and have this wonderful view of Batchwood Drive; it’s in keeping with what the school is about.”

Around 500-600 people attended the opener, with about 400 from the school and the rest made up of former pupils and staff and neighbours.

Garden Fields school's youngest pupils Edward Stanton, Izzy and Darcey Hall, all aged four, with special teddy bears to commemerate the opening of the new school buildings.Garden Fields school's youngest pupils Edward Stanton, Izzy and Darcey Hall, all aged four, with special teddy bears to commemerate the opening of the new school buildings.

At 101 years, Mabel Roe is the school’s oldest ex-pupil, and was on hand to cut the ribbon.

Her daughter Shirley said: “When she was 100, I wrote to the school to tell them and they invited her in to talk to the pupils about what the school was like when she was there.

“They invited her back to the grand opening to cut the ribbon and some of the children remembered her and was waving.

“We were very impressed with the new building, my mother loved the library, she couldn’t believe all the books.

“I can’t speak highly enough of how the school treated her, the children we’re so polite and everyone was wonderful. It was lovely,” she added.

Andrew Simmons, deputy director for children’s services and education, said: “Hertfordshire County Council is committed to ensuring that young people get a good start in life at one of our many excellent schools.

“This remodelled building will create the additional space needed to create a positive learning environment, one where young people can get the education they deserve.”

The expansion is to help meet increasing demand for school places across the county, The extra places at Garden Fields will bring the schools’ capacity to 630, with the first 90 children having started in September last year, and an extra 30 pupils every year until 2021.

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