Wates starts construction on multi-million-pound Wigan school

Wates starts construction on multi-million-pound Wigan school
Home News Wates starts construction on multi-million-pound Wigan school

Part of the government’s School Rebuilding Programme, the outdated St John Fisher Catholic High School is set to be replaced with a new, energy-efficient building.

Wates secured the multi-million-pound contract through the Department for Education’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) framework. St John Fisher is the sixth school project within the North West region that Wates has been appointed to through the framework, which is a part of the DfE’s 10-year School Rebuilding Programme.

Set off Baytree Road, St John Fisher is currently spread across four different buildings on the site which are all in need of replacement. Despite this, it continues to play a large part in the community and has gone on to produce star athletes including international rugby star Owen Farrell.

Demolishing an old school and building a new one presented challenges when it came to ensuring that there would be minimum disruption to the 1,050 pupils currently studying at St John Fisher.

Wates took this to heart and is working with Premier Modular to install a modular temporary school adjacent to the current one. This temporary, three-storey school has been designed to meet the Department for Education’s standards. Work on installing the temporary school began this month and is set to finish in the Autumn.

Once students have moved into the temporary structure, the older buildings will be demolished. In their place will be a nearly 84,000 sq ft facility with three storeys and a sports block.

Embracing the school’s Catholic identity, the new St John Fisher will also have a chapel that will feature stained glass taken from a decommissioned church in Liverpool.

The future school fits in with St John Fisher’s ambitions, according to regional managing director for the North, Dave Saville.

Designed by Sheppard Robson, the new St John Fisher will also be net zero carbon in operation. One key aspect of its energy-efficient design is a bio-solar roof. This roof goes beyond your standard PV panels, according to Saville.

It won’t quite be a verdant meadow up there, but there will be planting and a biodiverse area on top of the roof as well as the solar panels, This will give the school a unique look.

The school will look very distinctive and it will stand out from everything else around it. It’s a striking brick building that reflects the history of the buildings of Wigan but also combines this very modern approach to climate change.”
Dave Saville

Dave Saville.

Regional Managing Director

In addition to architect Sheppard Robson, the design team for the school includes engineer Curtins, planner Avison Young and landscape architect Plincke. CSD is the M&E engineer, OFR is the fire consultant, Nexus Associates is the ICT consultant, and Space Zero is the fixed furniture and equipment designer.

Work on the new school has now started on site and is expected to last three years with a completion date of Spring 2025.

We cannot express our sheer delight that our young people will have access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities in the future. We all know buildings don’t educate children, people do, but the environment in which children learn and are encouraged to grow is vital in producing decent human beings.”

Alison Rigby

Headteacher of St John Fisher

The government’s School Rebuilding Programme is delivering rebuilds and refurbishments that will create modern education environments, providing new facilities from classrooms and science labs, to sports halls and dining rooms.

The programme is due to deliver 500 rebuilding/refurbishment projects over the next decade, which will benefit tens of thousands of pupils over their lifetime.