Work will start on Monday to construct six new tennis courts at St John’s, Dr Patrick Hazlewood, headmaster of the Marlborough school, announced today (Friday).
The tennis courts, sited on land between the school and the new housing development on the site of the old St John’s Upper School, are expected to be completed and ready for use early in June.
The project will cost the school £250,000, money which has been raised through a range of activities and donations organised by the St John’s Foundation Trust.
Thanking parents for their support, Dr Hazlewood said: “The tennis courts will be an enormous benefit to students at St John’s. We will also be making the courts available for use by community groups during evenings, weekends and school holidays, giving a real boost to the provision of sports facilities in the town.
“My huge thanks to the many parents and friends of St John’s who have donated money to help us achieve this project. I am also very grateful to the members of the St John’s Family and Friends Association, who have raised £15,000 towards the project, including £10,000 for additional student lockers which will be installed over the coming weeks.”
It was originally hoped that the tennis courts would be completed at the same time as the new school, which opened in December 2009, but this proved impossible, explained business director Barry Worth.
“Building the new St John’s has been an expensive project, achieved without the backing of any central government funding. We paid for the new £26,500,000 building through a combination of land sale, fundraising, and a loan to cover the final cost of furniture and IT.”
“The money we initially set aside for the Phase 2 project to complete the tennis and netball courts and artificial grass pitch was eroded when the new building came in 1.5 per cent, some £500,000, over budget”.
The tennis courts are being built by Sports Facility experts McArdle Sport Tec Ltd of Wallingford, who aim to complete the project in two months.
The next phase of building at St John’s will be the completion of the Phase 2 plans, which includes an all-weather sports pitch. Fundraising at the school continues and £300,000 is still required through grants and donations towards this project.