Building work set to begin on new Bishop's Stortford High School ready to open in January 2023
A contractor has been appointed to build a new Bishop's Stortford High School, ready to open in January 2023.
Education authority Herts County Council has picked ISG to construct the new campus off Whittington Way.
The improved facilities will be funded by the council, an £11.2m grant from the Department for Education and the controversial sale of the school's current London Road site for housing.
The new school is a key part of housebuilder Countryside's plans for the 750-home St James Park estate, formerly known as Bishop's Stortford South.
The move will allow the secondary to admit 180 pupils a year – six forms of entry (6FE) – rather than the current maximum of 156, with potential to expand in the future to support the proposed scale of new housing in the area.
The construction will begin in mid-July, ahead of schedule, and is due to finish by November 2022. The new school buildings are expected to open in January 2023, with the school moving to the new site from then.
Head Dale Reeve is delighted to have finally reached this point in the project: "It's been many years in the making, but we're all so pleased to be at a stage where construction can now take place.
"As a school, we've continued to thrive in spite of the challenges posed by our ageing buildings and very soon we will have the fantastic new facility our students deserve. Having such high-quality specialist teaching spaces alongside great performing arts and sports facilities will really help us to provide our students with a truly all-round education."
Cllr Terry Douris, HCC's cabinet member for education, said: "Relocating The Bishop's Stortford High School is providing a fantastic opportunity to build a brand new school with modern facilities which will provide its students with the first-class learning environment and enrichment facilities they deserve to flourish and succeed.
"We're delighted to be bringing ISG on board as contractor and I'm looking forward to seeing the new school start to take shape."
Ben Elliott, ISG's regional director, added: "Creating inspirational spaces that provide the best possible learning environment for young people to thrive is a core driver shared by every project stakeholder on this important new development at The Bishop's Stortford High School.
"This scheme is another excellent example of how collaboration from the outset has pushed the boundaries for innovation and value creation, especially relating to the school's impressive sustainability specification.
"I'm confident that The Bishop's Stortford High School will not only continue the institution's long-established legacy of outstanding educational success but also become a regional benchmark for sustainable excellence."
Originally, 150 new homes were planned for the London Road campus when the new school is operational, but the total 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).
Critics argue the properties will fuel an unacceptable rise in congestion and pollution.