The Bishop's Stortford High School: Construction officially begins on new campus at St James' Park estate
Building work on a new campus for The Bishop's Stortford High School (TBSHS) has officially begun.
Head Dale Reeve was joined by other members of the secondary's senior leadership team, chairman of governors Alan Fordham and his predecessor Rodney Stock, and representatives of the parents, teachers and friends association for a ground-breaking ceremony at the site off Whittington Way, less than a mile from its current home in London Road.
Also there were civic dignitaries including education authority Herts County Council's leader Cllr Richard Roberts, the council's cabinet member for education Cllr Terry Douris, Herts county councillor for Bishop's Stortford Rural division Cllr Graham McAndrew and Stortford mayor Cllr Keith Warnell as well as a team from contractor ISG.
It was the culmination of 20 years of planning and Mr Reeve said: "We've been working on this project for such a long time and to finally reach the construction stage is very special.
"We're extremely grateful to all those who have supported the project along the way. I'm really looking forward to seeing this superb new facility take shape.
"To be in a position to provide our students with the kind of learning environment that genuinely reflects the high-quality education they receive is very exciting."
The new school is a key part of housebuilder Countryside's plans for its 750-home St James' Park estate, formerly known as Bishop's Stortford South.
The move will enable TBSHS to admit 180 pupils a year – six forms of entry (6FE) – rather than the current maximum of 156. That means 900 pupils in Years 7 to 11 and 400 sixth-formers with the potential to expand in future to support the proposed scale of new housing in the area.
The construction – including a caretaker's house, access, car parking, cycle storage, coach bays, playing fields, a multi-use games area and highways work – is expected to be completed by November 2022. The new school buildings are expected to open in January 2023, with the school moving to the new site from then.
That will clear the way for new homes to be built on TBSHS's redundant London Road site. Originally, 150 were planned but this was increased to 223 after plans to expand Thorley Hill Primary were ditched in favour of a new primary at St James' Park. That increased the land available to 6 hectares (14.8 acres).