Disused football stadium becomes school

A disused football stadium in the London Borough of Barnet has been redeveloped into the brand new Ark Pioneer Academy secondary school and sixth form which will welcome 180 new students this September.

The former site of the Underhill Stadium, used by Barnet Football Club between 1907 and 2013, has been developed by the contractor company Bowmer + Kirkland on behalf of the independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy firm, Pick Everard.

The project cost approximately £25M and will provide student spaces for 900 secondary school students and 300 sixth form students after the Education & Skills Funding Agency purchased the vacant site in 2015 so as to tackle the rising demographic of students and lack of suitable places for them in British schools.

The Director at Pick Everard, Steve Cummings stated: “We are delighted to have delivered high-quality educational facilities to assist in meeting Barnet’s demand for secondary and sixth form school places.

“As well as 26 classrooms, the school features two dozen other spaces for specialist activities such as dedicated music rooms, ICT facilities, workshops and a hall for performances. An indoor sports hall and a new, hard surfaced multi-use games area – which can be used for netball, football and hockey – has also been constructed, with the potential for community use outside of school hours.

“The site is rich with history as it was used by Barnet FC for more than a century before the club moved to its current home at The Hive.”

Ark currently owns a network of 38 schools, with some of their North London sites including King Solomon Academy, Ark Academy, Isaac Newton Academy, and Ark John Keats Academy.

The Principal of Ark Pioneer Academy, Aishling Ryan added: “At Ark Pioneer, we have high aspirations for every one of our pupils. We believe that every child has the ability to be knowledgeable, articulate and successful and we’ll ensure they understand the impact a great secondary education can have on their future lives.

“This is encapsulated in our vision – that every pupil joining us will leave with real options, to go onto further study in university or into the career of their choice.”

According to recent figures, the London Borough of Barnet will need to construct up to eight new schools by 2025.

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