New school named after astronomer on track for 2022 opening

The new Grace Cook Primary School and Nursery has reached a key construction milestone

The new Grace Cook Primary School and Nursery has reached a key construction milestone - Credit: R G Carter

The accomplishments of Suffolk astronomer Alice Grace Cook will be marked by the opening of a new primary school for 210 pupils in Stowmarket next year. 

Building work is now well underway on the state-of-the-art Grace Cook Primary School and a nursery which will be able to accommodate 60 pre-school children. 

The name of the school was chosen to provide a link to the history and community of Stowmarket, as well as to provide an inspirational role model for pupils in the town.

Alice Grace Cook who died in 1958, went by her middle name, and was born in Stowmarket in 1877. She was best known in her field for her research into meteors in the early 20th century.

Though many people may not have heard of her, Miss Cook was one of the first ever female fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society. 

In 1950, eight years before her death, she became one of the founder members of the Ipswich and District Astronomical Society. 

R G Carter - Topping out ceremony at the Grace Cook School in Stowmarket

R G Carter - Topping out ceremony at the Grace Cook School in Stowmarket Suffolk. Pictured tightening the bolt at the front is Anna Hennell James - CEO of the Orwell Multi Academy Trust with L-R Neil Eaton and Rachel Hood - Suffolk County Council, Cllr Keith Welham and Cllr Penny Otton - Credit: R G Carter

The new primary school and nursery is set to open in September 2022 in the Northfield View housing development, in the Chilton area of the town. 

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James Wilson, director and general manager at RG Carter, who are building the school, said: "We are delighted to be working on this project and pleased to be celebrating such a key moment in the development of this brilliant community building.

"The Grace Cook Primary School and Nursery is going to be a fantastic facility for the people of Stowmarket and will support the town’s growing population for many years to come.”

A topping ceremony has now taken place at the school where local councillors, developers Concertus and RG Carter, celebrated the building reaching its highest point. 

Charles Coulson, Associate Director from designers and project managers Concertus said: “The new Grace Cook Primary and Pre-School will provide a modern, fit for purpose learning environment for local children, as well as helping to ease pressure on local schools due to the expansion of housing in the area.

"Our design is focused on representing the school’s surroundings within the colour choices and fabric of the building and creating a central community hub which will be both unique and aesthetically pleasing.”


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