The last decade has also seen a wider building programme to enhance the academic life of the School and support the increased numbers. The interior of the Fielding Dodd’s Art School was superbly transformed by Rick Mather Associates into contemporary studios and classrooms, while the stunning Chung Music School skilfully reflects the rond-point on Nelson’s Walk with views towards the Rotondo. This has allowed drama to take over all the renovated Roxburgh Hall, still famous for the Beatles’ visit of 1963. All classrooms have been upgraded while new areas of grass and sculpture aid
the aesthetics. An Equestrian Centre was built beside Home Farm, while the old squash courts, now replaced by new ones at the Drayson sports complex, have been converted to StoweBucks, a popular social centre. During 2015-16 the Science Laboratories are being extensively rebuilt with state-of-the-art facilities and an impressive atrium to welcome the growing number of Stoic scientists.
Sport at Stowe has also flourished over the last ten years. In cricket four players have represented England at U17 and U19 levels, with Ben Duckett one of two players with a batting average of more than 60 in the World Cup, while the School’s first XI was first in national rankings in 2007 and 2011. In rugby three players represented England or Scotland at U17 and U19, and the School’s first XV won the Rosslyn Park U18 in 2015. Other Stoics have represented their country in athletics, hockey and lacrosse.
With its physical renaissance and the new themes of ‘Inspiration’ in the Visitor Centre and ‘Growth Mindset’ in the classrooms, Stowe seems to be recapturing the vibrant originality it saw in the 18th Century when it became a leading hub for architects, poets and politicians with their new concepts of culture and liberty based on classical ideals. It thus continues the vision of the School’s creators like Montauban, Warrington, Williams-Ellis and Roxburgh, who all valued the intriguing and creative blend of old and new.
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