Following significant work behind the scenes, today the partnership leading the development of the new Campus Whitehaven are announcing the preferred contractor for the design and build of the multi-million pound project. The announcement means work on site is now likely to begin in February next year.
Following a competitive process Wates has been appointed by Cumbria County Council on behalf of the partners, and between now and the end of November they will be working to develop the designs for the new campus. That will include consultation with parents, pupils and the wider local community who will be asked for their views on the design and layout of the new schools and sports facilities. The design will also consider how to maximise the educational and broader health and well-being benefits of the new campus approach.
The final designs will then allow the project to move into its next phase, with submission of a planning application anticipated in mid-December. Based on current timelines the campus could be opening its door to pupils in September 2018.
The unprecedented £30million investment in the campus will come from a range of partners including The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Copeland Borough Council, Copeland Community Fund, and Cumbria County Council.
The campus proposal will include new state of the art facilities for St Benedicts Catholic High School and Mayfield Special School and bring them together on the current St Benedicts site replacing the buildings, radically improving the teaching and learning environment and creating the potential for boosting pupils aspiration and attainment.
As part of an approach, aimed at improving the whole communitys health and well-being as well as education, the project includes new, community accessible, sports provision on the campus site. Overall the project is about investing in the future of West Cumbria, ensuring that there is the knowledge, skills and good health in the community to get the most from the opportunities presented by the anticipated growth of the nuclear and renewables industry.
Tony Shenton, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction North West, said:
The partners leading the development of Campus Whitehaven share a vision to create a state-of-the-art centre for learning and sport, and Wates extensive experience in education positions us as the ideal contracting partner to take this forward.
Wates growing presence in Cumbria has seen us launch a significant local economic benefits strategy to ensure that our work is a catalyst for the regions economy. As such, we will now be working with local supply chain partners and training providers to generate training and employment opportunities throughout the build programme.
Cllr David Southward, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property, said:
“This remarkable project has incredible potential to transform the education of young people in Whitehaven and improve the health and well-being of the whole community. With Wates coming on board today the project will start becoming much more real for local people wholl be able to get involved and help shape what the campus will look like and how it will work. Its exciting to see the project progress and Im very much looking forward to seeing the final designs.”