They were joined by Sue Samson, Chief Executive Officer, University of Chichester Academy Trust, Paul Hemmings, Mill Chase Academy’s Principal and, from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Victoria Baker, Deputy Director and Priority Schools Building Programme Director.
Commenting on the occasion, Damian Hinds said: “I was delighted to visit the site of the new Mill Chase Academy, and see the great progress being made on the build. The new school is another important part of the overall redevelopment happening in Whitehill & Bordon, alongside the new housing, commercial space and infrastructure that is already taking shape. It’s an exciting time for the town, and I look forward to seeing the school open in September 2019.”
Councillor Mans said: “The County Council is pleased to be playing a significant and important part in the regeneration of Whitehill and Bordon. From the very early planning stages, we have recognised that a new school building, with all the new facilities and potential that comes with it, would be fundamental to the cohesion of the local community and success of the area in its regeneration.”
Councillor Reid added: “We want Mill Chase Academy to continue to be successful, and as a Local Authority are committed to delivering quality school buildings, with thoughtfully designed teaching and learning and spaces that together provide an educational environment that enables students to flourish.”
Sue Samson commented: “There has been a significant transformation of educational provision at Mill Chase Academy under its dynamic headteacher Paul Hemmings and his wonderful staff team. Today marks another milestone in this shared endeavour. The provision of this new school building with its wonderful learning spaces will provide a lasting legacy which will play a major part in the prosperity of this community. I thank all those partners who are contributing to this project.”
Paul Hemmings said: “The construction team has wasted no time in completing the four steel frames for our buildings. I am overwhelmed by the scale of the outdoor spaces that we have. This will provide fantastic sports fields, including several pitches, an athletics track, long jump pit, an astroturf pitch and a multi-use games area. Alongside this we will have a sculpture garden, a forest school learning area and a courtyard in the heart of the school for students to sit and read or chat before school and at break and lunchtimes.
“The architect team has clearly designed an exceptional learning space both inside and outside of the buildings. This time next year I will be holding the keys to our brand-new school which will be the start of an exciting new chapter in secondary schooling and a significant milestone in the history of education for our town.”
Councillor Ferris Cowper, Chairman of the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Strategy Board, said: “What we are celebrating here is more than just a school. This exciting new building will ensure that the children of Whitehill & Bordon have the opportunity to achieve and succeed.
“As a partnership our aim is to give our residents a town that supports them throughout their lives, through childhood, in employment, through housing, to having the healthcare to see them through to old age. A first class education is a vital part of this philosophy and this school will make that a reality.”
Organisations including Hampshire County Council and East Hampshire District Council, developers, Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and Homes England, have been working together to enhance the town and its essential local infrastructure. Relocating Mill Chase Academy to new, contemporary facilities, with the capacity to accommodate a growing school community, has been a pivotal part of the Whitehill and Bordon regeneration plan.
Sited to the north of what will be the relocated town centre (in Budds Lane, Bordon) the brand new, 900-place secondary school buildings will be Mill Chase Academy’s new home, set to cost approximately £30 million to build.
The County Council is investing £10 million towards the total cost of building the new school facility. The balance of funding includes contributions from the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company, Homes England, East Hampshire District Council, and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
As well as a broad and diverse range of teaching and learning spaces, the new school will incorporate improved sports facilities: including a flood-lit, all weather pitch and six indoor badminton courts.
Completion is due in summer 2019 to allow the Mill Chase Academy to move to its new home in time for the start of the academic year in the autumn term.