Claire Perry (with a bit of help from some junior apprentices) breaks the ground for the new St Mary’s Primary School
It’s finally happening. After many will it / won’t it moments over the past few years development of the new combined St Mary’s Primary school is underway. “It’s been a long journey” understated Mark Thomas, Chair of Governors.
Devizes MP Claire Perry arrived at the site this morning (14 October) for the formal ‘Ground Breaking’ ceremony for the new school.
“The tenacity that so many people have shown in getting it to this point is just incredible" said Mrs Perry. “So many battles went on” she added, “but here it is, it’s happening.” “It’s a real vote of confidence in Marlborough’s future, it shows that the town is growing and thriving and cares about it’s young people, and it’s a really exciting day.”
“This is the tip of an iceberg moment” said Rev Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy, Rector of Marlborough’s Anglican Team, pointing out the enormous amount of work that had gone on behind the scenes to make this project a reality. He then went on to deliver a prayer of thanksgiving followed by a blessing for the work that lay ahead.
Whilst the building project is well on schedule the ceremony had to be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. “This Ground Breaking is a few weeks later than we would normally have done it, said Andy Jones, Contracts Manager for Newbury-based Keir Construction who are carrying out the build. “But we had to deal with over 300 slow worms who are now safely in their new hotel down in Trowbridge” he added.
Whilst the slow worms had to vacate the site, the 420 children who will move to the site of approximately five acres when it opens in September next year will enjoy a spacious single storey school building with plenty of space for play areas, football pitch, and possibly even a wild space at the far end of the grounds.
At an overall cost approaching £7m the new school is an amalgamation of the St Mary’s CE Infants School (on the same site but at the Duck’s Meadow end) and the St Peter’s CE Junior School which currently occupies the former Grammar School building in London Road adjacent to The Parade.
This first phase includes the construction of the new school building and associated external works with a new multi-use games area and playing field and the decant of both schools onto the new site ready for the start of the next school year.
Anne Schwodler, Headteacher of the amalgamated primary school, said: “Everyone is very excited about this wonderful opportunity for the children of Marlborough to receive an outstanding education in a fantastic new school.”