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First look at Ipswich college’s ‘majestic’ chapel after £750k revamp

St Joseph's College chapel during the refurbishment. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

St Joseph's College chapel during the refurbishment. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

Archant

This is the breathtaking chapel shortly to be unveiled by a college in Ipswich after a £750,000 overhaul.

Philip Branton, director of architects Wincer Kievenaar, gives his sons a preview of the St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGEPhilip Branton, director of architects Wincer Kievenaar, gives his sons a preview of the St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

The building has been a much-loved feature of St Joseph's College since 1967, hosting memorable assemblies, prizegiving ceremonies, concerts and worship for half a century.

But the historic structure which had become "the heart of St Joseph's" was regrettably closed in February 2017 after rain damage took its toll on the dramatic 1960s design.

Determined to restore the site, a major fundraising campaign was launched to pay for the £750,000 repair and refurbishment.

And now the chapel has not only been restored to its former glory, but enhanced and improved - with new lighting and audio-visual equipment to help improve performances.

The new Hamburg-built Steinway Model D grand piano which is inside St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGEThe new Hamburg-built Steinway Model D grand piano which is inside St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

St Joseph's has described the upgrade as a "revelation", with the school praising Ipswich contractor Elliston Steady and Hawes for "enhancing what was already a majestic space".

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Danielle Clarke, principal of St Joseph's College, said: "The closure of our chapel came as a blow.

"We created a new meeting space, The ARC - reflecting the college's key words of aspiration, respect and confidence - and it has seen us through very well. Indeed, it will be an additional asset going forward.

Upper sixth-form student William Scoones with the new Hamburg-built Steinway Model D grand piano which is inside St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGEUpper sixth-form student William Scoones with the new Hamburg-built Steinway Model D grand piano which is inside St Joseph's College refurbished chapel. Picture: ST JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

"But the excitement around the reopening is palpable. The chapel, always dear to the hearts of those in the St Joseph's community, including generations of old boys and girls, is now an even greater source of pride."

The building - designed by Hadleigh-based architects Wincer Kievenaar - is set to reopen on Saturday, December 14 with a blessing given by the Bishop of East Anglia, the Right Rev Alan Hopes.

In what originally began as a chapel for a Catholic school will now include representatives from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities at its opening, reflecting St Joseph's inclusive ethics.

"When the stunning modernist chapel at the centre of the St Joseph's College campus reopens its doors, it will realise the hopes of the whole school community and mark the culmination of three years' hard work and fundraising," the college said.

JP Chick worked on the site as structural engineer, while JSH carried out the building services' design.


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