Benenden School has begun work on a £19 million project to construct a new school hall and music school.
On Tuesday (26 March) Headmistress Samantha Price formally began the demolition of the existing hall, signalling the start of the most ambitious construction project in the school’s 96-year history.
Benenden has outgrown the current hall, which was built in 1938 when the school comprised 200 pupils. Benenden now numbers 550 girls, with 300 staff. It will be replaced by a new school hall which will have a capacity of 750 people and a state-of-the-art music school.
The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2020 and is the flagship investment of the school’s Centenary Vision, a programme of enhancements to Benenden’s curriculum and facilities ahead of its centenary in 2023.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: “Today marks a significant day in Benenden’s history. The hall and music school are at the very heart of school life and this redevelopment will dramatically enhance the experience of each and every Benenden girl for generations to come.
“We are equally pleased that, through our multi-purpose new hall, we will be establishing one of the foremost concert halls in the South East which will be available for use by the community.”
Benenden’s Head Girl, 17-year-old Freddie Flintoff, said: “The girls are incredibly excited by the prospect of these new facilities and we are all in the hall every day so it’s a really important space to us.
“The designs for the new building look amazing – it’s just a shame that I’ll have left the school by the time they’re built but I’ll definitely be coming back to see them!”
The demolition of the existing hall and music school buildings is due to be completed during the Easter holidays, with construction work beginning in May.