Image demonstrating Hexham schools contractor announced

Hexham schools contractor announced

The company which is set to design and build two new schools in Hexham has been announced.

Galliford Try is the council’s preferred bidder for the scheme, and the authority will be entering into a pre-construction services agreement with them in order to move to the next stages.

One of the UK’s leading construction companies, Galliford Try has developed an innovative design which will bring modern teaching and learning environments, along with top quality sporting facilities which will benefit not only the schools but also the wider community within Hexham.

The council has been working closely with Hadrian Learning Trust on the proposals which will see the current Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School co-located on one site, replacing their current ageing and increasingly unsuitable buildings.

In the proposed design (that you can see below) the two schools will retain their own distinctiveness and spaces for each age group, while allowing the Trust as a whole to benefit from the educational, operational and financial benefits of sharing one site.

During last year’s consultations on education in West Northumberland there was support for co-locating Hexham Middle School and Queen Elizabeth High School on one site. 

A number of locations in and around Hexham were considered for the new school buildings and feasibility work found that this proposal on the existing high school site to be the preferred option.

The Grade II listed Hydro building will be retained and the new buildings developed to its rear - with the middle school to the south and high school to the north.

The estimated cost of the construction of the new buildings is £36.1m.  This is being largely funded by Northumberland County Council with a contribution from the Government’s Department for Education.

In light of the council’s commitment to climate change and reducing emissions it has agreed that an additional £400,000 will be invested in renewable energy.  This will look to relocate existing solar PV panels to the new buildings - ensuring that the new schools achieve an energy EPC A rating.  

Councillor Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said:  “This is another huge milestone in our plans to build two new schools in Hexham, and I am delighted that we can now announce the preferred bidder for the project.”

“The scheme forms part of the council’s largest ever programme of capital investment, where we are spending £589m over the next three years to boost the county’s economy, improve education prospects for all and create new infrastructure for the future.

“Great education for our children and young people is vital to the future prosperity of Northumberland and we are confident that the preferred bidder’s proposals will meet both the council’s vision for schools and Hadrian Learning Trust’s education design brief.”

Graeme Atkins, executive headteacher at Hadrian Learning Trust, said:  “For years, Hexham and the surrounding area have longed for new schools for our young people. This is a unique opportunity to create the inspiring and purposeful learning environments they deserve. 

“Our schools have the potential to be assets for the whole community, celebrating the best of our past while providing exceptional facilities. We look forward to sharing the proposals with all of our stakeholders.”

Jeremy Barnett, operations director at Galliford Try said:  “We are committed to delivering positive, lasting change for the communities we work in, and look forward to working with Northumberland County Council and our local stakeholders to deliver a fantastic new learning environment for the pupils of Hexham Middle School and Queen Elizabeth High School as their preferred partner.”

The next step is public consultation on the proposed design and two events are being arranged to take place at Queen Elizabeth High School on the 11th and 14th of September.

Full details will be available at that time, including the design for car parking and bus drop offs which will all be contained within the school site, and not on the roads outside.

It is expected that a planning application will be submitted following this consultation.  Once permission is received, construction work would begin early in 2020, and the new schools will open in September 2021.
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