National contractor Wates Construction has been awarded a £16m contract to build the new state-of-the-art The Whitehaven Academy School, its second educational facility in the area after completing Campus Whitehaven last year.
The development will replace the existing Whitehaven Academy School on Cleator Moor Road, which will be demolished to make way for a new three-storey education facility and sports hall, together with associated parking and landscaping.
The main school building will contain a mixture of general teaching spaces for 900 pupils aged 11-16, with a focus on specialist teaching spaces for subjects as science, PE, design and technology. It has also been designed with flexibility and future expansion in mind, with plans to accommodate a 150-pupil sixth form centre in the next five years.
Wates is carefully phasing the works and strictly adhering to social distancing guidelines to help minimise any disruption and protect workers and pupils at the school. Government mandated BIM 4D modelling will also be used to foster greater collaborative planning, design co-ordination, and clash detection.
Work started on site in late June, with handover of the new school set to take place in early 2022. It will be delivered in partnership with supply chain partners SES Engineering Services, Cubby Construction and Elland Structures.
The Whitehaven Academy School has been procured by The Department for Education via its Construction Framework, further bolstering Wates’ already expansive education portfolio in the North West, with the firm also delivering Maghull High School and the Star Academies Eden schools in Blackburn and Manchester.
Wates has enjoyed a 12-year relationship with the Department for Education, delivering 22 schools worth a total of £400m and benefitting 20,000 pupils.
Dave Saville, business unit director for Wates Construction in the North West, said: “We’re looking forward to delivering another outstanding educational facility to the people of Whitehaven, after completing Campus Whitehaven last year.
“After years of collaboration, we fully share the Department of Education and Cumbria Education Trust’s vision for what schools could and should be like – world-class educational spaces and facilities that inspire both pupils and teachers, promoting the learning process at every stage and futureproofed for the next generation.
“As with any live school construction site, there will always be challenges when it comes to building close by to current school buildings. However, by making use our offsite facilities and with decades of experience in the education sector, we have the skillset and capability to minimise disruption to the school – which was crucial to us gaining a place on the framework.”
Nick Polmear, operations director at Cumbria Education Trust, added: “It’s time to replace the Whitehaven school buildings, with a new, modern design that is fit-for-purpose, provides the best learning environment for students, and can be adapted to accommodate further expansion in time.
“This is an important development to get right, which is why we made the decision to work with Wates, one of the most valued suppliers on our Construction Framework bringing years of experience and sector expertise to the table.”
The project is the latest for Wates Construction in the North West, with the team currently delivering St. Helens Fire Station, Sands Leisure Centre in Carlisle, and a new leisure hub in Widnes.