The first project will be to build an art studio in the Windsor garden, next to the science laboratory. Art is a very successful subject at the school, and the provision of specialist teaching room will allow an even greater variety and quantity of art to be produced in a space conducive to creative endeavour. The new studio will be a steel-framed, timber, 'chalet-style' building, with lots of glazing, and will have a number of ecologically sensitive features such as a 'living roof'.
The second project will involve a ground floor extension of Windsor, at the rear, to create a refectory and commercial kitchen. For the first time at St. Helen's, meals will be prepared and served on-site and the Upper School children will eat their lunches together in a proper refectory. The kitchen will also prepare meals for children at the Lower School, who will continue to have lunch in their classrooms. This innovation will hugely improve the dining experience, as well as our control over food quality and special nutritional requirements.
The refectory will be partitioned off from the servery for much of the day, and timetabled music and drama classes will take place there during the mornings and afternoons. It will also provide a excellent space for after school clubs (particularly those which need a large space, such as drama and gymnastics), meetings with parents, coffee mornings etc.
Building work will commence during the February half term and both projects will be completed by the end of August next year. The art studio will be completed first and music teaching will move there temporarily to allow the library to move to Cambria in April. Building works will be programmed in such a way as to ensure that teaching is not disrupted. We aim not to restrict access to the school through the Windsor entrance but there may be some constraints on access and we shall let you know the details nearer to the time.