The prestigious Tring Park School for the Performing Arts has officially opened its new £8 million boarding block.
The new Elizabeth House building consists of three floors and a lower ground floor, which contains a state-of-the art boarding house for 70 pupils, six academic and vocational teaching spaces, a theatre workshop, two staff apartments and other pupil facilities.
The first boarders moved in earlier this month, and included a mixture of younger pupils and sixth formers, and all of them were girls. However, the unique modular design of the new building means that the building can be ‘locked off’ vertically and horizontally depending upon boarding requirements on any given year and depending on the numbers of boys and girls.
Talking about the new boarding block, principal Stefan Anderson said: ‘This new building is revolutionary in terms of what it offers us when it comes to boarding facilities and new teaching space. It allows the school to move all boarding pupils onsite for the first time; previously, our sixth form boarders were based in houses that we own in Tring. These houses have been sold to fund this new development.
‘The new building provides the most spacious and modern boarding facilities and gives us the opportunity to refurbish the existing onsite boarding facilities to a similar standard. It also provides much-needed additional teaching spaces.
‘The 70 pupils that have moved into the new block are thrilled with the comfort and design of their term-time home-from-homes.’
Anderson added: ‘Architects Burrell Foley Fischer and construction company Stepnell have been a delight to work with and we are truly grateful to them for helping us to turn a dream into a reality. We also couldn’t have achieved this new building if it wasn’t for the generous donations made and the incredible fundraising efforts by our team at the school.’
After just a few weeks teaching in the new classrooms in the new block, director of drama Ed Applewhite said: ‘To be able to work in new rooms that are quiet, well-resourced and full of natural light can only be conducive to an exciting productive environment, and in only just over a week, we can already see the positive effect these rooms are having on the students’ learning.’
Mark Foley, principal of Burrell Foley Fischer LLP, Architects and Urban Designers, who worked with architects Geoff Pyle and Tom Scopes to make this dream become a reality, said: ‘The opening of the new boarding house sees the completion of the second phase of a comprehensive masterplan for the school, which is set within the historic context of Registered Parks and Gardens and Grade II* listed buildings in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
‘Elizabeth House follows the architectural language established in the first phase, Park Studios, a form that reconciles the normally solid character of buildings with the predominantly green character of the site. The new buildings are designed to be transparent and layered to connect with and retain the delicate balance between historic buildings, the collegiate structure of Elizabeth House and the landscape setting of open courtyards and garden spaces.
‘The building materials of copper cladding with randomly spaced cedar columns will naturally weather to a dark bronze background and silvery outer layer of columns up which a variety of exotic climbing plants will further soften the building in its green surroundings.
‘In the new building, junior years are arranged on the upper levels progressing to sixth formers located in single study bedrooms at ground level in order not to disturb younger years at bedtime. Each level has its own social common room and kitchen areas. Teaching and workshop spaces are at the lower ground level where the stepped site drops down to the lower garden levels.’
Eve Waldron from Eve Waldron Design said: ‘We worked closely with the team at Burrell Foley Fischer on the design for the interiors. Colours and materials were selected to complement the building’s base build finishes. We work towards wellbeing principles on our projects and have incorporated elements of biophilic design.
‘Biophilic Design focusses on a human-centred approach that when applied, improves many of the spaces that we live and work in today, with numerous benefits to our health and wellbeing. Research has proven that incorporating these principles increases rates of learning 20%-25%, improves test results, concentration levels and attendance, and reduces the impacts of ADHD.’
Tring Park School is both a day and boarding school for students aged eight to 19. Alongside a broad academic curriculum, the school offers courses in dance, acting and musical theatre to learners up to the age of 16. Sixth Form students are able to study Acting, Musical Theatre and Commercial Music up to age 18 while dancers can take a three-year course, graduating at age 19.
For further information about the school visit www.tringpark.com.