A PERMANENT site for Chichester Free School has been revealed – ending months of speculation.
Pupils will be based at the Carmelite Convent, in Hunston, from September 2015.
The school is set to expand into the 140-year-old site after two years spent in its temporary site in Runcton.
Chairman of governors Stephen King said the new site reflected the school’s ethos.
“The Convent of Mount Carmel will make a truly inspirational home for Chichester Free School and will help us provide an exceptional educational experience for our pupils and their teachers,” he said.
Mr King described the next few months as ‘critical’ and said there was much to do in a ‘relatively-short’ period of time.
“I would like to thank the continuing dedication and hard work of the project team, many of whom are volunteers, in working long hours to achieve this.”
The school, which is aiming to take children from four to 18 years, is run by the Sussex Educational Trust.
The trust plans to transform the historic building into modern classrooms and is working to acquire more space for playing fields in addition to the site’s seven acres.
Guy Martyn, principal, said: “Our temporary home is clean, calm, airy and bright, but we all know the convent is an inspirational setting.
“Now we can look forward to building our school our way, and in a manner which truly nurtures, challenges and inspires everyone who is part of this great and aspirational school for Chichester.”
The school will remain in Vinnetrow Road until transformation of the new site has been completed.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the free school – several Runcton residents objected to plans for the temporary site, claiming the school run would cause traffic problems.
After the nuns left the convent in the mid-1990s, it was used as accommodation for agricultural workers. But disaster struck in 2009, when a fire broke out in the chapel after a suspected arson attack. It has been empty since.