The Discovery Centre, being built at the Royal Latin School in Buckingham, will house 12 new laboratories and other facilities designed to help the school develop the scientists, engineers and technologists of the future.
Money for the scheme has been raised through the school’s 600 Campaign, which aims to have updated and enhanced the school’s facilities by 2023 – the Royal Latin’s 600th anniversary.
Much has come through Buckingham-based businesses such as engineering firm Racelogic, whose founder and managing director Julian Thomas is a RLS alumnus, manufacturer Wipac, medical products manufacturer Vitalograph and food firm Puratos.
Racelogic has handed over £100,000 in sponsorship for an innovation laboratory and charitable trusts including the Wolfson Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation and local charity the Lillingstone Trust have all made sizeable awards to the project.
The school still needs to raise £150,000 to hit its £5 million target, money that is needed to equip and furnish the centre, says Royal Latin director of development Jo Ballantine.
She also appealed for assistance in kind from businesses, such as donations of equipment and expertise as the project nears completion.
A popular initiative among local companies is sponsorship of individual chemical elements on a periodic table installed in the school’s entrance hall.
Wipac and Milton Keynes-based IT firm Mercurius are among those that have secured an element – the former choosing xenon because it manufactures xenon headlamps for car makers including Lamborghini and Ferrari; Mercurius opting for the liquid metal mercury.
Mrs Ballantine said: “If we can find sponsors for every element, the whole initiative will have raised more than £125,000 for the Discovery Centre. Companies should not underestimate what they can do to make a difference.”
The Discovery Centre project is being watched closely by schools across the UK preparing to build similar facilities. “We want to start sharing our experiences with other schools,” said Mrs Ballantine.
She hopes that the £5 million target will have been reached by the time of the annual RLS 600 Golf Day, which takes place at Whittlebury Park on September 11. Places are still available for corporate teams interested in taking part.
Jo Ballantine e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org