In January this year I went along to a past pupil’s night at Grosvenor High School, an alma mater of mine, in Cameronian Drive, Belfast. The old school buildings were being pulled down and new buildings erected on a site in Marina Park just behind them. Yesterday we were all invited to go back to skool again and take a look around those brand new buildings.
Redeveloped at a cost of between £25m and £30m as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative managed by the Belfast Strategic Schools Partnership (BSSP), the new Grosvenor buildings are one of seven projects across Belfast in a first phase of building.
Now I’m no expert on these things, but new Grosvenor certainly seems like a state of the art school with great facilities. Facilities that will help the school maintain its enviable academic and sporting record for many years to come.
The extensive new buildings contain specialised rooms for music, IT, media, art, languages and a host of other subjects, including a fully mirrored dance and drama studio. Sports are well catered for with extensive playing fields, a large gym hall and a fitness suite to rival many hotels. There’s a large indoor canteen and a rather nice new sixth form common room that’s a huge improvement over the shabby old building that I knew.
All this is in addition to the already impressive Ken Reid science block (which, hilariously for an old timer like me, I overheard being referred to as the “old science block”).
There was even a definite “new car smell” about the place, though I suspect the influx of 1,100 schoolchildren in September will soon fix that.
I was impressed by Grosvenor: The Next Generation, and it was great to see what the future holds for the school even as the one I knew from too many years ago is being pulled down right beside it.
Naturally, I took a few photos of the evening and the new buildings, which you can see on my Grosvenor New Buildings web album.
I’ll leave the final word to a more expert opinion from a current teacher, and old school friend of mine, who later wrote:
Grosvenor, her old stamping ground, is looking fantastic and makes the new term in September seem more like a treat than a dirge. Here’s hoping [...] turns out to be as bright, inviting and overall as much appreciated as Grosvenor.