End of an era for Chantry’s high school as summer holidays demolition project takes leap forward

On going work at Suffolk New Academy

On going work at Suffolk New Academy

Thousand of students have been through its doors over the last 53 years – but the original Chantry High School buildings are rapidly being reduced to dust.

Building and demolition contractors Kier have been able to use the summer holidays to get on with pulling down the largest buildings of the original school – and this week the main building has been pulled apart.

Project manager Scott Jennings said the school holidays were providing his team with the opportunity they needed to get on with the demolition work.

He said: “There is a lot to do and it is a very busy time for us. We have to be ready for the staff to come back to school at the end of this month and for the students in early September.

“But all is on schedule so we are pleased with the way things are going at present.”

There had been a great deal of interest in the work, and many people had come to watch the work under way.

Mr Jennings said: “We’ve had people saying to us: ‘that’s my old classroom’ as we’ve got into the main block – and clearly it is quite emotional for many people . . . some are sad, some are happy to see the school come down.”

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Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere is a former governor of Chantry High School which became Suffolk New Academy in 2013 and is to become Chantry Academy in September.

He said the new school was long-overdue – but accepted many would be sorry to see the end of the old buildings.

“It was really tired and in desperate need of replacement. The roofs were leaking and the buildings were all spread out – it really had reached the end of its life.”

The original plan to replace the building was cancelled by the then-new coalition government in 2010, but three years ago the go-ahead was given for a new academy for the site.

When term starts in September, all its activities will be in the new buildings. The last old buildings will be pulled down by November – but that part of the site will be sealed off from the new school.

Staff return to get used to the new building on August 27 and the first pupils arrive at the end of the first week of September – with the school being fully occupied from September 8.

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