A £3.75 million arts centre will be officially opened at a York public school today by the parents of a former pupil who died tragically in an Alpine accident.
Julie and Tony De Nunzio will also name an art school within the Bootham School complex after their son Ed, who died in February 2011 when he fell from the roof of a chalet in the French Alps.
The couple and their daughter Sophie set up a charitable trust in his memory to raise funds for local charities helping young people to achieve their full potential, but Mrs De Nunzio said they also wanted to create an everlasting memory of Ed at Bootham, a school he had loved.
"We hope the new Arts Centre and the Ed DeNunzio Art School will inspire and encourage the artistic talents of generations of Bootham pupils," she said.
More than 200 guests will attend the opening of the arts centre , which has already hosted the inaugural York Chamber Music Festival, with plans in hand to partner with a major national film festival later in the year.
John Squires, lead architect on the project, said the school had wanted him to develop a design that complemented the scale and quality of the adjoining ‘brutalist concrete’ Assembly Hall, whilst introducing a new vision responding to the demands of sustainable development.
"Our design aims to provide a vibrant, lively and creative space that will draw people in and encourage them to stay," he said.
"Sensitive and respectful to its surroundings; this isn’t a grand commercial statement, but something more refined. Wherever possible, we’ve retained and embedded the existing building into the new structure as this reflects Bootham’s commitment to retain, re-use and refurbish; the evolution of the buildings is gradual and sensitive."
Headmaster Jonathan Taylor said the centre not only provided the very best facilities for artists, musicians and performers, but it was the centrepiece in a jigsaw of on-going development