Tim Waterstone, a man whose name is synonymous with books, officially opened the new £4.5 million Learning Resource Centre (LRC) at Hymers College on 15 April.
Tim said: “I am delighted to be invited to open such a marvellous building. As you will appreciate books have played an enormous part of my life and it is wonderful to know that the sale of printed books continues to grow. I agree with Winston Churchill when he once said ‘Let books be your friends: let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.”
The new centre will provide its students with a 21st century learning environment, the opportunity to study independently and collaboratively, and to prepare them for university life.
David Elstone, head teacher at Hymers said: “When I came to Hymers in May 2005 I found it difficult to believe that an academic school such as Hymers College did not have a library facility for its senior pupils. I have always believed that is it not enough for a school to teach someone to read. It is far more important for us to be teaching our children to love to read and therefore a library plays a critical role in the education of every student at Hymers College.”
Situated in the heart of the school, the two-storey building incorporates a cafeteria, careers information area, bookable meetings rooms, computer facilities and space for quiet research on the ground floor. The first floor provides sixth formers with a space for silent study with the top floor houses a conference room, break out area and roof top terrace.
The LRC was designed by Sheffield based architects Jefferson Sheard and built by local building company PDR. Whilst a modern building, it remains sympathic to its surroundings and cleverly incorporates elements of the school’s history and tradition. The Old Gym, built in 1897, and part of the school’s original footprint has been incorporated into the ground floor of the LRC providing a multi-purpose hall suitable for staging a whole host of activities from assemblies, exhibitions, to after-fixture teas.
David Elstone continued: “Building an LRC that our students truly deserved was beyond the school’s ability to fund from its own resources. I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank all those parents, Old Hymerians and friends of Hymers who have contributed financially and made this development possible. I believe that the new Learning Resource Centre will further enhance the school’s reputation as the top academic school in the region.”
The LRC has been open to students since 22 February and they have clearly voted with their feet. Sue Tomlinson, LRC manager and librarian, said: “Since opening the LRC has been the busiest building in the school. One student said he couldn’t imagine school life without the LRC. The students are certainly making the best use of the facilities and resources available – their enthusiasm and productivity has been exhilarating!”