Photos taken in July 2012, just before the demolition of the old College building which has stood since 1963.
It was a bittersweet moment for St. Ambrose College Headmaster Michael Thompspn and Chairman of Governors Robin Haig as they surveyed the ruins of their old school.
The flat roof construction hastily built in the early 1960s has given way to a £24.5 million state-of-the-art building and has been bulldozed to create a new all-weather rugby pitch, additional playing fields and an access road, from what was traditionally the exit to the old Ambrose site on Hale Road.
Michael Thompson who with his Chairman of Governors, has spent the last five years driving forward the plans, said: “I should really feel delighted to finally see the back of the old building, which was frankly no longer fit for purpose. But I cannot help but feel sad to see my old office, the school stage, the science labs now ready for reclamation.”
Chairman of Governors Robin Haig added: “I have been associated with the school for nearly 40 years with my sons enjoying their education here and as a member of the Governors and Chairman since 2005. The new school is everything we wanted and more, but this site makes you realise that a school isn’t just bricks and mortar but the community past and present that works within its walls.”
Chairman of St. Ambrose College Old Boys’ Association John Kennedy said: “The old building was simply functional, consisting of long corridors, the length of the building, with rectangular classrooms off it. The classrooms had windows facing the playground down one side and included rows of wooden desks for up to 40 pupils. Some of our class rooms were simply temporary buildings and could be cold in the winter.”
“I have many fond memories of my years at St. Ambrose, starting in the old Prep School in 1967, which itself was demolished for a new building just a few years ago. Now I am delighted to see the stunning new college built as a sign of the great progress being made by the College. It is a wonderful tribute to all those who had a hand in its conception, design and delivery.
“As fabulous as it is, it is the teachers and staff that develop children rather than buildings or beautiful surroundings. Our buildings may have been simple and served their purpose but we were lucky to have so many good teachers in my time at St. Ambrose.”
Balfour Beatty Site Agent Raj Fonseka conformed that the final phase of the project should be completed by Easter next year, but that work had been delayed by six weeks to complete a mandatory protection order which had saved four bats.