One of Worcester’s leading independent schools has celebrated the start of building work on its new £1.25m multi-purpose hall which its headmaster believes will benefit ‘many generations’ of pupils. King’s Hawford School has kicked off the seven-figure project with a ceremony attended by Douglas and Mary-Ann Garrad, who founded the school in 1955. The milestone comes as pupils mark the school’s 60th anniversary.

The Hawford-based school for two to 11-year-olds will name the new 4,700 square-foot building, The Barn.

Due for completion in December, the hall will be a contemporary version of a traditional Worcestershire vernacular barn to stay in keeping with the site’s historic buildings and the surrounding landscape.

The school’s 330 pupils will use the timber-framed building as their main sports hall as well as for concerts and theatre productions. It will also be available for the community to use in the evenings and will include a kitchen facility to cater for events. It will feature removable seating for up to 220 spectators.

The Barn, which will be big enough to fit a 5-a-side football pitch, will also be an environmentally friendly ‘eco-building’, powered by roof-mounted solar panels and featuring a heat recovery ventilation system.

Headmaster Jim Turner said: “The Barn represents a major investment for us and when it’s completed it will give fantastic multi-purpose sports and drama facility for our pupils.

“We were delighted to welcome our founders Douglas and Mary Ann Garrad for the celebration of our first dig. We are also very grateful for the support from all our pupils’ parents, who have been extremely positive about the plans and how important a role The Barn will play in the school’s future.

“The Barn will be a great benefit to the school and I am certain it will be a superb facility to be used and enjoyed by many generations of pupils.”

Mr Turner, who has been headmaster at King’s Hawford since 2006, added that the local community will also be able to hire the new building in the evenings and at weekends.

Mr Garrad added: “I am very happy to see how the school my wife and I founded so many years ago is going from strength to strength. It really is investing in its future.

“Mary Ann and I were very excited and honoured to have been asked to be part of this special occasion marking the start of the next stage of Hawford’s history.”

The most recent Ofsted report in 2014 rated overall standards and teaching at King’s Hawford as ‘outstanding’.

Building contractor Speller Metcalfe will construct the new hall.

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