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A new chapter for St. John's House

Wakefield Girls' High School Junior School opened in 1881 for pupils aged 5 years old and above. However, it wasn't until 1967 that St. John's House became the home of our Junior School.

The building is iconic and immediately recognisable within the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation, and to the public, as Wakefield Girls' High School Junior School. Over the years, the school has seen various Headmistresses come and go, but it is under the leadership of Mrs Edwards that the building is going to enter a new era.

The next few months will see St. John's House be brought into the 21st Century, through its refurbishment over the course of the Summer. This is an incredibly exciting time for the building and the school. The iconic exterior will remain unchanged, whereas the interior will be brought up to date whilst still retaining elements of the period charm that the staff, pupils and parents love.

Over the course of the project, this blog will keep you updated on the progress of the renovations.

Update 1 - 11th May 2017

Well, the packing is well and truly underway! This week, a mountain of boxes have been delivered in order to start putting away St. John's House as we know it! The library was the first room to be packed up - no mean feat considering the amount of books we have! Year groups will move to a few different locations over the next few weeks, one being the girls' senior school - how exciting! Given everyone having to squeeze in together for the last half term of this academic year and start of next year, not everything can go to temporary classrooms. Hartley Pavilion will house the majority of boxes and furniture until the next moving (in) day, before the second half of the Autumn term next year!

Have a look at the gallery.

Update 2 - 26th May 2017

Today is the day! The door has closed on St. John's House in its current state for good! The girls won't see their refurbished school until October, as work will be carried out from the start of the Summer term and over the holidays. Year 3 classes relocated to Mulberry House earlier this week, and Year 4 will move into Year 6 classrooms ready for their return after half term. The Year 6 girls will be very excited to move into their new temporary location in the senior school English rooms! They're all thrilled at the prospect of having lunch in Peppers, and what a brilliant way to get ready for Year 7 in September! When everyone returns after half term, the St. John's House playground will be off limits, as this will become the builder's compound. 

Click here for the gallery.

Update 3 - 31st May 2017

St. John's House is (almost) officially empty! Our caretakers and porters have been working incredibly hard over the last week to ensure no stone is left unturned when it comes to clearing out every box, every piece of furniture and anything else that could've been left behind in the 'big move'! The colour schemes have been chosen and the furniture has been ordered! There are just a few loose ends to tie up over the next few days, but come the start of next week, it will be over to the builders to work their magic! 

View the gallery.

Update 4 - 22nd August 2017

A good few weeks have gone by since our last site visit to St. John's House and a lot of progress has been made.

Amongst the noise of machinery, dust from walls being demolished and numerous mugs of tea, there are a team of tradesmen working incredibly hard to transform our school into a fabulous new space. The school office is unrecognisable, an extra service window has been put in and the old blue partition is long gone! The electricians are chasing out the walls for all the new wiring to go in and stud walls are going up to make better use of space. The hall is awaiting its new roof light and once the walls are plastered the building will really start to take on its new shape!

There is still a long way to go, but over the next month St. John's House will be given a totally new lease of life.

Have a look at the progress here.

Update 5 - 15th September 2017

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy in St. John's House. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, it won't be back in action as a school until January - but it will certainly be worth the wait.

A lot of the work is being done from the top down. The joiners are in the upstairs classrooms assembling the fitted furniture and the new heating system is going in. The school office is taking on its new shape and Mrs Edwards' office now has walls! The lower ground floor is rather dusty, with more of the heavy duty work taking place.

The size of the workforce currently resembles a large army of ants, who have completely overtaken the entire building. Thanks to all manner of trades, St. John's House is slowly looking more and more like the finished article!

See the latest gallery.

Update 6 - 4th October 2017

Well, it's not only the seasons that are changing at the moment, St. John's House is altering more and more everyday. 

On the top floors the first coats of paint are on the walls, fitted furniture is in and the classrooms are really beginning to take shape and look more like the finished article. The metal fencing at the top of the staircase is a thing of the past and what was Mrs Wimbush's office is now home to lots and lots of cabling! The lighting for her new office was being fitted this morning and Mrs Edwards' new office windows were getting some TLC. 

Plasterers are working their way up the staircase and Mrs Cunningham's classroom is currently being lining-papered ready for the fresh blue and white paint - which is the colour scheme throughout the building.

The entrance way is looking more impressive, with the plaster work completed, it already looks a brighter and more open space! 

Look at progress here.

Update 7 - 24th October 2017

It may be half-term, but there's no stopping the workforce in St John's House!

The lighting on the staircase is in and looks beautiful against the fresh blue paint, the classrooms look like classrooms again and it's becoming easy to see how everything will look once it's finished.

However, the biggest transformation since the last update is without a doubt the new sky-light in the hall. The installation of the new windows has made the world of difference to the once rather dark space, it is now filled with light and will be a wonderful area for assemblies, lunch and teaching.

Click here for the gallery.

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