Glenalmond lies in over 300 acres of beautiful Perthshire countryside. The building is a stunning example of Scottish architecture, inspired by colleges in Oxford and Cambridge and created by acclaimed designer, John Henderson. While a completely unique environment, the school needs to constantly maintain the fabric of the property and provide improved educational and recreational facilities. Throughout the year there are many development projects underway.
Coll’s 1st XV pitch is about to receive a facelift!
In desperate need of new drainage, work will get underway in early 2015 to replace the pitch, pull down and build a new 100-seater stand and purpose-built training area.
Former Scottish Rugby captain and OG Rob Wainwright said: “Under Neish’s beautiful veneer, the pitch has long suffered from challenging drainage problems (remember the wet patch in the far left corner that slowed even the swiftest of wingers?). The time has come for a total overhaul of the drainage and installation of a brand new pitch complete with adjacent training area. And, fond as we are of the old stand, lovingly built by Pub Adam, its day is done and the project will see its replacement with a less flammable, contemporary 100-seater. These improvements will not only benefit our rising rugby players of today and tomorrow, but also provide a new home for our 1st Lacrosse team.”
Racquet sports have a long history at Glenalmond.
At the beginning of the 20th century the game of Fives was popular, but in 1960 a gift from the Alexander Cross Trust allowed the school to build two squash courts. These have been popular ever since with inter-house and inter-school competitions taking place over the years.
In 2014, the squash courts were modernised and refurbished thanks to a gifts from the Jeniam Foundation and the Clarkson family. They were re-dedicated to W W Clarkson OG in June 2014.
A Fives and Squash player, Clarkson went on to represent Scotland before retiring from the game. The school has several keen squash players among both the pupil and staff bodies.
Glenalmond Squash Club (staff and local residents) play at the College in a league which takes place throughout the autumn and winter on Thursday nights. This team was founded in the 1970’s by teachers who taught at Glenalmond. Several teachers represented the team including Bill Crow and John Gillespie, who continued to play until last year. In recent years, staff members James Lugton, Gavin Collins, Mike Davies and Sue Maclean have played for the team alongside members of the local community. This year, for the first time in a long time, Angus Sandison (Captain of Coll, Upper Sixth) joined the team. There is also a ladies’ team which Carolyn Bircher and Sue Maclean (PE department) play for. The team plays in local leagues.
“As an avid tennis player growing up in the US, squash seemed a game merely suited for the harsh New England winters. Nonetheless when I joined Coll in 2010, wet windy days allowed for squash to take precedence over tennis. My father played at Glenalmond during the early 80s and was part of the reason I took up this wonderful game. Admittedly not much had changed in the squash courts since his days. Warming the ball still required significant exertion in the cold damp courts; however the school was lucky enough to receive funding to improve these well used facilities. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to officially open these courts during Commem 2014. A brutal 30 minute hit with Scotland’s 1 and 2 ranked Commonwealth Squash players certainly had me trying out every corner of the newly refurbished courts. Since then involvement in squash has certainly increased, many new 3rd form have asked when they are allowed to play and even some upper sixth have given the game a go. The Glenalmond team are certainly indebted for the improvements of their home ‘walls’. Squash is a fantastic game that has been enjoyed by Glenalmond pupils for many years, as a school we are thankful for the improvements made to help enhance participation and let this game thrive into the future.”
- Angus Sandison
The sun was shining on Saturday 7 September 2013 whenthe Hugh Price Pacillion at the Cairnies golf course was re-opened after extensive renovations. In his speech from the new verandah to OGs, pupils and staff, the Warden remarked that a rebuild would be a better description of the work. Colin Brown, president of the OG Golfing Society and the Captain od Golf a Glenalmond, Andy Frey, both welcomed the transformation of the 36 year old building; the former recalled the long and strong tradition of golf at Coll and the latter looked forward to making use of the excellent facilites offered by the clubhouse and the swchool's unique golf course. After a toast and an excellent buffet lunch an informal matchj was played over nine holes between the OGs and the School, including the Warden. The result was irrelevant but all departed with a warm sense of achievement.
75 OG goflers contributed to the cost. The original target for the OG Golfing Society had been £20,000 but this had been raised to £28,000 when detailed soctings became available. The final £1,200 was raised after a brisk and lively auction at the Golfing Society's Annual Meeting at Elie at the beginning of October. There has also been a generous donation of a brand new kitchen with equipment from Howdens Kitchens and a grant of £2,000 has been provided from the Annual Fund.
As many of you will know, Patchell’s Boarding House is situated within the original College buildings and is therefore one of the oldest in the College’s estate. When it was built in the 1840s it cost over £21,000 approximately £1,200,000 in today’s money. Patchell’s has recently benefitted from some generous benefaction, which allowed a corridor of 6th Form rooms to be fully refurbished. The “Maxwell Corridor” has given the pupils, parents, Housemaster and the rest of the school an inspiring vision of what is possible.
2013 saw the Glenalmond’s theatre have an initial face lift. New, retractable, padded seating now allows an audience of 200 to enjoy the various productions throughout the school year (seats were ‘christened’ in November with a spectacular full-scale performance of Les Misérables). Levelled stage-to-seating flooring allows a wonderful new teaching space for increasing numbers of GCSE and A Level drama students.
Several times per week the theatre can now be utilised (with the aid of new floor to ceiling blackout curtains) for presentations and lectures, including the prestigious William Bright Society.
Despite these very welcome modern additions, the work here is not yet done: the absence of ‘stage cloths’ (wings) and forty year old lighting and a crackly sound system can be problematic. However, says Head of Drama, Charlie Youlten; “We love a challenge!”