Ark White City Primary Academy welcomed guests for the official opening of its new school building last week on Tuesday (21 November).
The completion of the school is an important milestone for the EdCity development – a £150m investment between Ark, an education charity and Hammersmith & Fulham Council. EdCity is due for completion in 2025 and will be a unique location. In addition to the school, the development will bring together an education hub, new affordable homes, a modern office building, a YouthZone and improved facilities for the White City community.
Guests at the school included Councillor Stephen Cowan, Mayor Patricia Quigley, Andy Slaughter MP, Ark CEO Lucy Heller, OnSide, who run the WEST YouthZone and school governors. They were joined by contractors Bowmer & Kirkland and Ark’s project team, who have been instrumental in bringing this project across the finish line. Guests went on a tour of the school and its facilities and enjoyed hearing a reading and singing from pupils before speeches and the ribbon cutting.
They particularly enjoyed a performance from the Key Stage 2 choir who sang Jimmy Cliff’s hit, ‘You can get it if you really want’.
The project’s next phase will be the opening of OnSide YouthZone, named WEST by local young people, which will offer after-school, weekend and evening activities for the community and Ark White City Primary pupils.
Number One EdCity, the nine-story office building, will become an innovation hub for those who are committed to transforming education, bringing together Ark and other like-minded organisations and tenants under one roof in 2024.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, said "It's a huge privilege to open this new school building as part of our ground-breaking EdCity development which will help provide local residents with the right skills and qualifications needed for the jobs of the future we’re bringing to H&F as we attract some of the world’s hottest firms to the borough with our pioneering Industrial Strategy.”
Executive Principal Daniel Upfield, said "There is a sense of joy that we have finally reached this stage. I joined Ark Swift in 2018, and there was talk about EdCity. I remember being in design meetings, thinking about how this new school would transform the community and the city’s educational landscape. We had a unique opportunity to merge two communities at Ark Burlington Danes and Ark Swift and the children have done a remarkable job in coming together, as have our staff, who have been fantastic and so unbelievably flexible. We are very excited about our school’s future and opportunities, so I want to thank everyone who’s worked tirelessly to make this project a reality.”
Head of School, Sophie Vellacott, said "Guided by our values and missions, we hope to turn this school into more than a beautiful building. We hope this is a place where children are truly nurtured, and every child and family we serve can find their path to success. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this school a reality, from planners to builders, teachers to parents and especially our children for whom we built this new home."