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St Mary's Cambridge acquires new boarding provision

St Mary's School has acquired a former nursing home to provide a new home for all its boarding students

Posted by Stephanie Broad | February 25, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

The building on Brooklands Avenue, formerly Hope Nursing Home, owned by the charitable order the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux, has been acquired following a five-year search for the right residence for the school’s boarders.

The boarders currently reside in two separate boarding houses and the new house will free the school from the expense and uncertainty of rental accommodation, providing a dedicated and upgraded facility for boarding, within walking distance of the school.  

Headmistress Charlotte Avery said: “Our boarding students thrive in our supportive environment and we are committed to offering a safe and happy home for them. It is gratifying that we were able to acquire this beautiful building from a like-minded charity based on a mission to care; previously, for the elderly and now for young women. The purpose of the new acquisition is not to expand our boarding provision but, rather, to enhance our current provision for boarders. We take pride in our school’s facilities and are committed to providing our girls with the best possible environments in which to live, learn and grow, and this substantial, yet prudent, investment is testament to this aim.

“The acquisition is the next phase in our long-standing commitment to invest in top-class facilities for all our students, building on our purchase of a beautiful new home on Chaucer Road in 2012, which allowed a previously split site Junior School to be reunited. Thereafter, we created a bespoke home on Brookside for our sixth form centre, as well as an art and photography centre on Bateman Street and a new science hub. Enhancing our boarding accommodation is an appropriate next step in our balanced approach to wise planning to secure a very confident future for our school and for future generations of young women.” 

Number 15 Brooklands Avenue is set in substantial grounds adjacent to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden on the south side, just as the school’s Bateman Street site is adjacent to the north. The interior will feature student and staff accommodation as well as large communal spaces over the three-storey property. Work has already started to sensitively refurbish the building and the first boarders will be welcomed into their new home in September 2016. 

Charlotte continued: “A well run boarding house will always seek to complement the school’s curriculum and reinforce its spiritual ethos - 15 Brooklands Avenue offers the right balance between space to study and a beautiful, safe and secure home.” 

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