A joyous celebration was held at Stockwell Primary School on Friday, November 23 to mark the official opening of the school’s new classrooms and nursery.
Jamaican born children’s author Valerie Bloom MBE joined Lambeth Mayor Councillor Clive Bennett, project architects, the contractors and the school community at the event.
Under the £3.3million Government funded and Lambeth Council administered expansion, the school in Stockwell Road has had nine brand new classrooms and the nursery added. Old and out of date buildings were demolished to make way for the scheme.
The school’s existing Victorian building was also improved and has been linked to the new modern glass and steel housed classrooms via bright and airy internal walkways.
Cllr Heywood said: “I’m delighted that Stockwell Primary School has these fantastic new classrooms, a new nursery and refurbished building meaning the children are benefitting from a much improved learning environment.
“In Lambeth we are desperately short of primary places so really welcome the completion of this scheme which will add an extra class to each year group at this outstanding school.”
The school has been expanded several times in the past with brownfield sites bought up and added, including 15 houses and street Garden Row in the 1970s, which were used to make the playground bigger.
Because of the small size of the school site Lambeth Council decided buy a neighbouring building so the latest expansion could go ahead. The important £2.8m purchase in 2007 was a key step in allowing work on the plan to start in February last year. The project was completed in August this year.
Stockwell Primary is run in federation with Jessop Primary School in Lowden Road, Herne Hill and Glenbrook Primary Schools in Clarence Road, Clapham.
Federation executive head teacher Janet Mulholland said: “It is brilliant the pupils are settled in the new buildings and I am delighted that we were able to help the borough address the shortage of primary school places by adding an extra class from the start of this school year.
“This was an ambitious plan that took a huge commitment from everyone involved to deliver. Today’s celebration was the perfect way to recognize all that hard work that has gone into this scheme.”
Building contractors Breyer Group carried out the final design and the building work with Lambeth Council project managing the scheme through its Education Estates and Capital Projects division. The division’s responsibilities include managing the estate and property of Lambeth Children and Young Peoples Service.
The design and masterplan for the scheme were developed from 2008 to 2010 by architects Greenhill Jenner whose team was led by one of the firm’s partners John Jenner.
Mr Jenner said: “The aim was to re-organise the school to accommodate the extra pupils and creating more space, especially playground space. The school had grown in stages and we decided to clean up the site to make the buildings more logical and for the school to have a bigger visual impact when you enter from Stockwell Road. The challenge was to accept that certain existing buildings had to go, and once that was agreed everything else fell into place.”