We are delighted to announce that the Senior School has received planning consent for its new boarding House for girls aged 13 - 18. Building work will commence shortly and the House will open in September 2013.
The new building will replace the existing, smaller, Sixth Form girls’ House. It will retain both the name of Westal and its symbol of the penguin, both treasured connections to former pupil and notable polar explorer Dr Edward Wilson who died with Captain Scott in 1912.
Westal will sleep around 65 girls from 13 to 18 years of age in custom-built accommodation, designed specifically for a modern boarding community. This number will be big enough to create a real sense of community and peer support, whilst being small enough for the Housemistress to get to know each girl personally. In addition to the sleeping accommodation, the House will offer a wide range of amenities, from homely common rooms, ensuite bathrooms and kitchens to study rooms, music practice rooms and outdoor space.
The Housemistress has already been appointed: Mrs Jenny O’Bryan, currently Head of Lower College and teacher of Biology at College. As with all the College boarding Houses, she, along with her family, will be resident within the House. She will also be supported by a team of matrons and both resident and non resident tutors.
Dr Peterken, Headmaster of Cheltenham College said:
“It is immensely exciting to be looking forward to the opening of Westal, our new girls’ boarding house, in 2013. Its opening, 10 years after that of Ashmead, one of our other girls’ boarding Houses, strongly reflects the demand for boarding places at College. It will also increase the percentage of girls in the school which is an important step forward in the continued development of the co-educational make-up of College.
The building will be located in what will be the quietest ‘boarding’ corner of the College campus, close to the astro pitches and the sports hall. It will occupy currently unused space in the heart of our conservation area, ensuring that in addition to the building itself, the girls will have their own outdoor area for relaxing in.
We take our stewardship of our historic buildings and conservation land very seriously and we are delighted to be working closely once again with Heath Avery Architects, whose design for Ashmead won a Civic Award for its environmental contribution to the town of Cheltenham. Throughout the planning process we have worked closely with both the local Conservation Officer, Karen Radford, and English Heritage to ensure that the building’s design is as sympathetic as possible. We will, of course, remain in dialogue with the Conservation Officer and be equally as precise in our choice of materials during construction.”