The Ada Benson Building – Official Opening

10 February 2020

After months of waiting, today is the day we will finally open the doors for the first lessons in the Ada Benson Building, our brand new centre for Sixth Form and the Arts. Art and Textiles lessons will take place there for the remainder of this month. But the big date for your diaries is Friday 6th March. 

Ada Benson Building Formal Opening – Friday 6th March

On Friday 6th March, we will be joined by the Chair of BAFTA, Dame Pippa Harris (1985), Cheryl Giovannoni of the GDST and our very own Dr Helen Stringer in celebrating OHS girls of the past, present and future.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the new Ada Benson Building, the evening will commence with a VIP drinks reception and ribbon-cutting by Dame Pippa Harris. Dame Pippa is a much garlanded producer of film and television who recently enjoyed phenomenal success for her role in producing the Sam Mendes film 1917, and stands forth as a shining example of the creativity and integrity which Oxford High School has always cherished and nurtured.

Once the building has been formally opened, guests are invited to join us in exploring the building’s key teaching spaces, including the new NT Live auditorium, digital design and fine art studios, textiles atelier and our brand new health and wellbeing centre.

To learn more about our formal opening event and register your interest, please visit the OHS Box Office.

A Brief History of the Ada Benson Building

Since construction began in September 2019, teachers and students have watched as, first, the much-loved Art and Textiles block disappeared beneath a cloud of rubble, and then this fantastically elegant and modern addition to the school rose phoenix-like above our heads.

The hoardings that have masked the site for the past year disappeared a fortnight ago, shortly after the names of the new building and its teaching spaces – arrived at via a competition among students and staff – were announced. Since then, everyone has been raring to get into the building and explore their new home. Delicate aromas of the pop-up café linger in the memory as we look at the space where the new café and panini bar will stand, and awesome Dolby rumblings throb through the doorway to the new NT Live auditorium, as some lucky souls get a test screening.

Scroll down to browse through some galleries showing the evolution of the Ada Benson Building over the past year. Or you can find out more about here how we came to name our new centre for Sixth Form and the Arts.

First Bite of the Apple

On Monday 10th 2020, the first ever lessons took place in the Ada Benson Building with Year 10 and Sixth Form students rejoicing in all the newfound light and space!

Situation Vacant

The Ada Benson Building stands ready and waiting for the school to occupy it. Shortly after this picture was taken, a swarm of IT experts and members of the Art faculty swooped into action, filling the building with everything required for the first lessons, which took place on Monday 10th February 2020.

Almost There Now

In January 2020, teachers are treated to a tour of the new build and behave with customary decorum.

New Year, New Me

At the start of the new academic year, the building is really taking shape with the addition of overhead pipes and ducting as well as the arrival of the distinctive decorative panels which make the exterior of the Ada Benson Building so beautiful.

Full Steam Ahead

Construction continues at full speed during the summer months. You can just see the distinctive geometry of the exterior and light wells taking shape.

Love at First Sight

Our current Year 11 is one of the first student groups to tour the building site in May 2019.

Demolition and Early Construction – September 2018 to January 2020

In pictures 1 and 3, OHS Director of Finance and Operations stands with Matt Bowler, Project Manager for Beard, during an early stage of the construction process. In picture 2, the old Art and Textiles block is carefully levelled while, in picture 4, concrete is piped into the foundations.


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