600 Campaign Phase One: Discovery Centre
The Discovery Centre is an innovative £5m 12 laboratory Science & Technology facility. This spectacular building was opened on 2nd October 2015, thanks to investment by government, philanthropists, charitable trusts, businesses and the wider community.
The building was created in order to replace the six cramped and outdated laboratories previously used by the science department, which had been untouched for fifty years and were located in a rapidly deteriorating building with severe structural defects, poor heating and lighting and a badly leaking roof. In 2012, the school launched a campaign to raise £5m to build the Discovery Centre: an innovative twelve laboratory, flagship science facility with flexible, independent study space and huge learning walls. The Discovery Centre plans were welcomed by a wide range of STEM professionals as an important link between the classroom, workplace and university. The school sits within the Oxford-Cambridge Technology Arc and at the heart of Carbon-Fibre Valley, and therefore plays an important role in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers that the region badly needs. The fundraising campaign was broad and diverse, and was supported by charitable trusts and foundations, alumni, parents, industry and statutory sources. People gave their support in many ways, whether through room sponsorship, special events or by joining one of several fundraising initiatives including buy a brick and the popular periodic table sponsorship scheme.
"The Discovery Centre is a magnificent building. It is certainly not just an ordinary science block - I've not seen anything else like it in the UK…truly commendable." Professor Robert Winston
The Discovery Centre opened its doors to students in September 2015, just three years after the 600 Campaign launch. You can read more about the opening of the Discovery Centre by Lord Winston and The Rt Hon John Bercow MP here. Students are now able to study science in a warm, bright and contemporary science setting, which emulates university and commercial science facilities. The building has transformed science teaching and learning, and gives all students wishing to study science at A level the opportunity to do so in a first class 21st century environment. The innovative building layout allows for more independent study and greater collaboration between students and with teachers outside of the classroom. At its heart, the Discovery Centre features the Racelogic Innovation Lab, the Lillingstone Trust Community Laboratory, a Parent Lab and Alumni Lab and a Training Lab to help train the next generation of science teachers.
“Entering our first lesson, we see that an entire wall of the classroom is taken up with a detailed diagram of a cell’s ultrastructure, and the new water baths are bubbling at the side of the room – an indication of the dynamic lesson to come. The Discovery Centre has made a whole variety of exciting things possible. We’ve even turned the pod-shaped tables into a selection of cells and had the whole class simultaneously drawing diagrams on the idea walls - we have enjoyed some really unique and memorable lessons! The benefits of this new building are huge.” Grace, Year 13 Student.
Please contact us if you would like to visit or know more about the Discovery Centre, including available sponsorship opportunities. Without the support of everyone involved, construction of the Discovery Centre simply would not have been possible. We continue to be extremely grateful to our sponsors, donors and volunteers for their energy and commitment – THANK YOU!
Top image by Sally Elvin; centre & bottom images by GSS Architecture/Fotohaus