In 2013 Impington Village College embarked on a project to complete key restoration work to the Grade 1 Listed building. An Historic Buildings Appraisal was completed in 2008 which identifed the need for significant restoration, estimated to cost in excess of £1 million. Although the building exists relatively unchanged, the appraisal also identified several original features and schemes of ‘very high significance’ that have been lost or altered over the years. One feature that appeared prominently in the appraisal was the façade of the Gropius Hall which was noted as being of ‘very high significance’. Repairs and changes made prior the Grade 1 Listing were not sympathetic to the original design. In the 1970s the entrance doors were replaced with a poorer design, and the central feature of the canopy and cinematic windows have suffered significant damage. The recommendation from the appraisal, supported by English Heritage and the local authority Historic Buildings Officer, was that the front elevation of the Gropius Building be repaired and restored before further deterioration is suffered.
In 2013-14 the College secured funding to enable stage 1 of the restoration programme including £100,00 from Heritage Lottery Fund, £25,000 from the Wolfson Foundation, as well as £15,000 seed funding from IVC Parents, Staff and Friends Association. A further £4,000 is being sought through donations from friends and visitors through the Gropius Restoration Pledge.
In Summer 2014 stage 1 of the restoration work was completed through the main hall and prom including internal decoration, work on the original Crittal windows, work on the front elevation and canopy, and the installation of the new doors. In the original lighting booth, a blackout system and new lights have been installed. This will enable the front window formation to be lit up, as was intended by architect Walter Gropius.
The new doors act as a signifier of the work that has been completed to date. It represents the first step in a longer term strategy to restore and repair this magnificant building. As elements of the Gropius Building deteriorate over the coming years the Village College will struggle to fund basic repairs through Government funding. If the College is to maintain the Gropius building and its heritage for the benefit of future generations, it is crucial that alternative sources of income are secured. Stage 1 of the restoration project is intended to kick-start this process by raising the profile of the building, and highlighting the special architectural and heritage features.