Independent day school for girls St Helen and St Katharine has opened the doors to its brand new Sixth Form Centre - the Benedict Building.
St Helen’s in Abingdon is a popular senior school choice for students from across Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley, with a bus service ensuring transport for families from the area.
The Benedict Building reflects the school’s vision for sixth form - to create an environment for students that will provide students with the space and opportunity to grow their academic interests.
Named after former headmistress, Sister Jean Benedict (1962–67), the Benedict Building features nine spacious classrooms, a range of individual and group study spaces, a higher education library, a lecture and performance hall, a café and a large common room.
Headmistress Rebecca Dougall said: "The design of the building is all about creating spaces that respond to how students work and how they relax.
"It deliberately anticipates the design ethos of higher education. Above all, we wanted to create a space that presents new opportunities for young women to be inspired and excel.
"I am confident that we have achieved this goal and look forward to seeing all that the Benedict Building will bring to life at St Helen’s.
"It has been a real pleasure to work with TSH Architects and Benfield and Loxley to deliver this project.”
Project Architect Hannah Deacon, of TSH Architects, added: "It has been a privilege to deliver this project from concept design to the finished article.
"The staff of St Helen’s are very passionate about providing a state-of-the art facility for their sixth form students; featuring contemporary and diverse spaces for learning.
"We have been working throughout the design stages to ensure that the project was of the highest quality to meet the school’s ambitions. The architectural vision for the building was driven by creating an additional quad that fits well with the current school campus and responds positively to the heritage of the existing school buildings."
St Helen and St Katharine’s Chair of Governors, Kevan Leggett, said: "This is one of the most ambitious projects the school has ever undertaken and, on behalf of the governors, I’m delighted that this beautiful new building is now a reality. We look forward to seeing students enjoy all the opportunities this space will bring for many years to come.”
Students from other schools in the community will also benefit from this new exciting space. St Helen’s works closely with Abingdon School, offering a number of jointly taught A level subjects and a growing range of extracurricular opportunities.
In addition, students from across the OX14 Learning Partnership, will also be regular visitors as they take part in shared activities.
St Helen and St Katharine will be hosting its next Sixth Form open event on Thursday, April 27. Prospective students and their parents will have the opportunity to tour the new facilities.
To find out more about St Helen and St Katharine school visit shsk.org.uk
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
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