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New Assembly Hall

New Assembly Hall
Karen Smith

New Assembly Hall opens at Canford

After eleven months of construction work, the Canford community welcomed the reopening of the Gisborough Hall at the beginning of November. 

The aim of the project was to reconfigure the old Assembly Hall which the school had outgrown and was therefore no longer fit for purpose.  The newly reworked space now has capacity to bring the whole school together in one building.  In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, initially the building is being used for socially distanced assemblies by school year group bubbles.

It was important that the project combined modernisation and improvement to the facilities with sensitivity to the existing building.  The old stage was removed and infilled, tiered retractable seating has been installed to maximise on flexible use of the space alongside a mezzanine floor at either end of the hall. The ceiling grid was removed to expose the original 1930’s steelwork above and a fantastic new lighting scheme has been introduced.  The room has also been redecorated throughout, including sanding and lacquering of the floor to reveal its original appearance.  A new audio-visual scheme included a state of the art sound system and 86 inch television screens while the organ speakers have been refurbished for chapel services.  The room has also been improved acoustically and thermally.  As a result, the space offers greater opportunities for presentations and events, alongside a much more comfortable room for examinations.

Headmaster Ben Vessey is delighted with the outcome:

“It was with genuine joy that I took my first assembly in the new hall this week after many months of virtual events.  Canford has rather been a victim of its own success, outgrowing the existing space and left without a building where the whole school could gather together.  Having the ability to do this is central to our school community and it will be a truly memorable day when we are able to do this.  Until the authorities allow us, we intend to make as much use of the building as we can to bring pupils and staff together, socially distanced and in year group bubbles.

The design has exceeded all our expectations and my thanks go to all those involved in making this project a reality during very challenging times.”

Pictured are shots before and after the build, alongside a shot of the original Assembly Hall in the 1930s.


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