The final phase of Chessington Community College’s £27m rebuild was opened to fanfare on Monday, September 28, with visiting dignitaries naming the new school among the “best designed in the country”.

Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey did the honours by unveiling a commemorative plaque in the college’s vast central atrium, a cavernous learning and social space which forms the heart of the reconstructed building.

The ceremony marked the completion of the final phase of construction, which has seen a brand new theatre and improved sports facilities added to the hi-tech classrooms in place since October last year.

State-of-the-art science laboratories, computer rooms and specially designed areas for construction projects have all been up and running for much of the year, partially powered by innovative environmental technologies such as solar panels and a biomass boiler.

New principal Rob Niedermaier-Reed, who took over at the beginning of September, described the completed building as a “wonderful opportunity” for pupils and the wider community.

He said: “There’s a real buzz around the place. Parents want to be able to send their children to a first class, high quality local school which is exactly what we are.

“We’re an amazing resource which the community should be able to have access to, and when I’m here at weekends and evenings I see a lot of the local community coming through the doors.”

Drama and dance at the college have been transformed thanks to the new theatre and performance space, which makes clever use of mirrored walls to form an enclosed dance studio when space needs to be carved up.

Prefect Jake Strong, who is due to play Willy Wonka in the school’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, said the new facilities had led to a “huge rise” in students opting for drama.

He said: “The first play I did for the school we did in Kingston College, the second was in the atrium, and to come to this is amazing. We had to do it in Kingston before because we didn’t have the space.

“There’s only one word for the changes really, it’s all pretty epic.”

Mr Davey praised everyone who helped ensure the vast project became only one of the Government’s 100 similar Pathfinder projects to finish on time and on budget.

He said: “I think the community in Chessington can be proud of this building. There was a time when people said Chessington was the forgotten end of the borough.

“Well let them come to Chessington now.”

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