A major milestone in the project to build a new, multi-million pound Music School at Queen Elizabeth’s School’s has been reached, with the first ‘concrete pour’ at the site.
Selected staff and pupils were on hand to celebrate the arrival of the concrete mixer – the first of some 150 lorryloads due at the School over the coming months!
Headmaster Neil Enright, who was among the group witnessing the historic event, said: “It is exciting that the construction phase of this major project is now well and truly under way.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably caused a few complications, we have been very keen to press ahead with this project: it represents not only a significant investment in our facilities, but is also a sign of our confidence in the future at this difficult time.
“Indeed, while we have extensive precautions in place to keep everyone here safe from the virus, we are trying, so far as is possible, to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ for our boys, our focus remaining firmly on providing them with the best possible education.
“If all goes according to plan – Covid-permitting! – we should be able to open the new building during the 2021 Autumn Term.”
The £3.5m-plus project received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid (comprising a £1.2m grant and £1m loan).
Completion will involve substantial financial support through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, thus continuing a long record of FQE backing which has been instrumental in ensuring the School has been able to open a succession of new facilities over the past 25 years.
The purpose-built Music School complex will provide essential support for QE’s booming Music department – until lockdown began earlier this year, there were more than 20 ensembles at the School, with over 160 boys singing in the Choir.
It will feature a new performance venue and a number of much-needed teaching and rehearsal rooms. In addition, the two-storey building will provide additional assembly space to accommodate QE’s lecture programme, as well as a covered atrium for boys to use at break times.
The School’s new Deputy Head (Operations), Tara O’Reilly, said: “The site has been ‘prepped’ and ready for building work to start for some time, so it is good to see the area now full of machinery and to be able to watch the construction team from our contractor, TJ Evers, who are all working hard to break ground and put in the foundations for the new building.”
Watching the concrete pour alongside the Headmaster and Ms O’Reilly were Director of Music Ruth Partington and Music teacher Caroline Grint, together with two of the School’s senior musicians, Year 12’s Raphael Herberg and Conor Parker-Delves, both of whom have just started their A-level Music studies.
Raphael said: “We are very excited about the new Music block,” while Conor added: “We are really glad this is happening for our Music Department, and that future QE students will get to enjoy it.”