The Earl of Halifax laid the foundation stone for Pocklington School’s new £2.5 million Art and Design Centre on Friday 21st October, watched by pupils, guests and benefactors.
The ceremony on the site of the new state-of-the-art building came as it was announced that the fundraising campaign for the new Centre had now reached £1,700,000, due entirely to the generosity of current and former parents, Old Pocklingtonians, charitable trusts and friends.
Lord Halifax, who is president of the Campaign, followed in his father’s footsteps as he laid the foundation stone for the new building: Charles Wood, the 2nd Earl of Halifax, performed a similar ceremony for the school’s original ‘design and creation centre’ on the site in 1969.
The school is now preparing the next generation of artists and designers by providing the very best opportunity to develop their skills and continue this strong tradition of inspiring creative minds.
The new building’s foundation stone was created by Jez Stretch, Pocklington School’s Maintenance Team Leader, who is a monumental mason. Mr Stretch carved the inscription in his own time and says he is ‘very proud’ that his work will be part of the new Centre.
The Pocklington School Foundation Governors gave the go-ahead for building to begin in June after considering the results of the tender process, the continuing success of the fundraising Campaign and the overall sound position of the Foundation’s finances.
Demolition of the old biology building and the first section of the existing Art and Design Centre on the site took place soon afterwards, and contractor Houltons of Hull began construction on 1st August. Phase One is due for completion by May 31st 2017 and Phase Two is due to be handed over in October 2017.
The school must still raise a further £300,000 to ensure that the new Art and Design Technology Centre is fitted out to the high standards the Governors feel its students deserve.
Donors who attended Friday’s ceremony wore lapel pins specially created by Pocklington School’s Head of Art, Dan Cimmermann, featuring the original artwork used on the brochure used to launch the Campaign, overlaid onto the footprint of the new building. They had earlier attended a Service of Commemoration of Benefactors at All Saints Church, Pocklington, led by Rev Tim Haggis.
After the laying of the foundation stone, guests attended a reception hosted by Mark Ronan, Pocklington School Headmaster.
Mr Ronan, said: “We gather here today because of the generosity of parents, former pupils and friends of the School. It is their gifts today that have made the building of a new Art and Design Centre possible. This is an important development for Pocklington School and today reflects a significant amount of work by many, which will enable future generations of Pocklingtonians to benefit from the creative spirit that is such a strength of this School.”