School completes £15.5million revamp with demolition of former building
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Its classrooms taught generations of the town's best and brightest - but now Ipswich's former Thurleston High has been razed to the ground, to make way for a school of the future.
The historic building, in Defoe Road, had served the community since 1962 and shaped the lives of thousands of young people.
But after being built in an age where many houses did not have a colour television and the idea of the internet was merely a fantasy, it had become outdated for the modern age.
So the school, now known as Ormiston Endeavour Academy, embarked on a £15.5million project to demolish the vast majority of the old site and replace it with a purpose-built facility for the 21st century.
Principal Jamie Daniels unveiled the new 5,500sq m site last year, which boasts seven science laboratories, art and technology workshops and a drama studio, as well as a drama studio and new classrooms.
Gone are the dark and narrow old corridors of the past in favour of an open-plan design, which makes best use of natural light.
The new site, which is about five times bigger than an average supermarket and can accommodate about 900 pupils, is also more energy efficient.
But even though pupils moved into the new site in 2020, builders still needed to demolish the old school to make way for the final phase of the project.
It has now been replaced with a fully floodlit outdoor area equivalent to the size of five tennis courts, to boost the school's sports activities and provide a facility for the wider community.
Mr Daniels said parents of children at Ormiston Endeavour, many of whom had attended its forerunner, took a great interest in seeing the transformation of the old Thurleston High.
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"It will absolutely enhance the experience young people have," Mr Daniels said of the new site.
"We now have facilities which will allow students to feel special and feel they are valued even more."
Ormiston Endeavour is holding a grand opening on Thursday, September 30, where parents and nearby residents can see all of the new facilities on offer.
The project was funded by the Department for Education's Priority Schools Building Programme, designed to renovate schools in need of urgent repair.