Deer Park School, the new state of the art secondary school in Hedge End, which opened its doors to its first pupils last month September 2021), has hosted a grand opening to introduce its facilities to the local community.
At the event held on Thursday, 14 October 2021, the school was officially opened by The Mayor of Eastleigh, Cynthia Garton. Other guests at the opening, hosted by Executive Head Teacher, Marie Lou Litton, included: Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Keith Mans; County Council Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Roz Chadd; and representatives from the Department for Education (DfE).
The £21.2 million Deer Park School is part of the Wildern Academy Trust, funded by the DfE as part of its National Free Schools Programme. The school has been built on land owned by Hampshire County Council and designed by the County Council’s award-winning Property Services Team, with environmental friendliness in mind.
Contractors Kier led the construction of the main building and an adjacent sports hall with capacity for 1,050 students. The three-storey main building boasts a central triple-height atrium, 46 ‘digitally rich’ classrooms, a learning resource centre, science laboratories, art rooms, design and technology facilities and a music and drama space. The two-storey sports hall features a four-court main hall, a multi-use activity studio, and changing facilities.
Additional and extensive sports facilities for both the school and local community to use are also being developed, thanks to a joint investment of a further £2.4 million by Hampshire County Council and Eastleigh Borough Council. Pupils and local residents can look forward to several grassed sports pitches, including a 400 metre running track, a synthetic turf pitch, and a multi-use games area with three netball courts and floodlighting.
The design of the school’s buildings includes a number of significant environmental features to help reduce running costs and carbon consumption, such as:
• a solar photovoltaic array on the roof to harness solar power
• a rainwater harvesting system serving the toilet-flushing system, together with low water consumption taps and toilets
• ample covered cycle stores to encourage pupils to cycle to school, complemented by safer routes to school infrastructure.
Deer Park School Executive Head Teacher, Marie Lou Litton, said: “We have started with our first cohort of 124 Year 7 students. It is a truly wonderful learning environment that we know will continue to evolve and thrive year on year as new groups of students join us.”
Councillor Roz Chadd, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am very excited to see Deer Park come to life as a school and recreation space for families settling into new homes which have been, and are being, built in the area. Schools should always be at the heart of a community, and this is even more important when a new village is evolving. Our property design team have done a fantastic job of visualising a sustainable school to become a backdrop to learning for many years to come. Our investment in community sporting facilities and through supporting the employment of local construction trainees onsite means that the benefits of Deer Park go beyond the school itself and help to further embed it into the Woodhouse Meadows neighbourhood.”