Crista Cullen MBE opens new Sports Centre
10 May 2017
Witham Hall was delighted to welcome Great Britain Olympian Crista Cullen MBE to formally open the new Sports Centre. Ahead of cutting the ribbon, the gold medal winning hockey player paid tribute to all concerned with the new facilities which she said “would undoubtedly serve to inspire and encourage generations of young athletes, whatever their sporting interest and ability.” She encouraged all users to “fully embrace and enjoy everything that such an outstanding development can provide” suggesting that “few stand-alone Prep Schools across the country could have access to such facilities.”
The original Sports Hall building was decommissioned last summer, when construction of the new Sports Centre began. At 20,000 square feet, the new main hall offers pupils a host of indoor sporting opportunities for both curriculum PE and Games, while separately providing a sprung floor Dance and Gymnastics Studio, an AV Room for guest lectures, a full cardio and resistance Fitness Centre, as well a suite of new changing, showering, catering and staff facilities. A roof-top viewing terrace overlooks the outdoor tennis and netball courts allowing spectators to enjoy watching sports as well as taking in the school’s fine parkland setting at the same time.
In highlighting the outstanding support and ambition of the Governing Body in making the project possible, Headmaster Mr Charles Welch said “Alongside an increasingly outstanding reputation locally and regionally, we have the ambition to make Witham Hall one of the leading Prep Schools in the country. One part of this plan is the development of facilities that continually serve to inspire all who work in them, thereby enriching the education of every pupil wherever their talents, interests and passions may lie. The work undertaken in recent years to extend academic facilities in the Prep Building and the Pre-Prep Building, to provide state-of-the-art new Science labs, to redevelop Art, Drama and Music, and to provide a Forest School all now receive a further boost with this magnificent new facility.” The Headmaster also indicated that space liberated elsewhere on the campus will allow for the installing of two new IT Suites with added Design & Technology provision, alongside the extension of pupil dining and common room provision.
Mr Welch also highlighted how the school “has always been pleased in how other local schools (including various local primary schools, as well as special needs institutions) local clubs and charitable community groups had been able to use the old facility, and is now really looking forwards to being able to welcome these groups back to a modern and superbly equipped centre.”
The Chair of Governors, Mr Jeremy Sharman, congratulated the School Bursar, Mr Luke Graham, who had acted as project manager for the multi-million pound build. He highlighted how, together with Thomas Wilson Architects, Mr Graham “had brought to fruition the school’s original vision to achieve a large facility that did not lour over its surrounding nor fight against the aesthetic of the wider estate or the main Queen Anne revival main hall.” He was also quick to acknowledge “how impossible the development would have been without the generous benefaction of so many donors, to whom the pupils will remain forever indebted.”