A NEW £3million performing arts centre at Sir William Ramsay School was officially opened last Friday.
Pupils, staff, parents and governors, alongside invited guests including Earl Howe, celebrated the opening of the new two-storey building.
Features at the facility - which took 12 months to build - include a dance studio, three state-of-the-art music class-rooms, and a media room.
The school in Rose Avenue, Hazlemere, spent ten years trying to secure funding for the project as it was without a main school hall for its 950 pupils. Other facilities, such as the community centre nearby, were used by the school instead.
However, Buckinghamshire County Council decided in 2004 it would put up £2million, from its capital programme, for the visual arts college project. The remaining £1million came from the Department for Education and Skills.
Now students aged between 11 and 18 will have the chance to explore their talents even further with the new technology the school has installed.
During the opening ceremony, Earl Howe, patron of the school, talked of his fondness for theatre and performing arts and praised the school for its new facility.
He said: "I have always been fond of performing arts as my own father was a stage and screen actor and this facility along with the great teachers you have here will be able to help you enhance your talents.
"May I say that everyone involved can be proud of this fantastic building and it is my pleasure to declare it officially open."
Gaynor Comber, headteacher, said: "The pupils think it's brilliant and have been awe-struck. Every year group will get to use the centre and we hope it will be a facility used by the community as well. I have many people to thank for helping us get this beautiful building including past and present governors and in particular Richard Morris and Peter Memory, as well as Marion Clayton."
Highlights at the opening ceremony came from Year 7 pupils Amy Hindmarch who played Under the Sea on her flute and Amber O'Reilly and Adrian Papworth who sang an a cappella (unaccompanied) version of Tears in Heaven.