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Big day for Birmingham’s BSF programme

Big day for Birmingham’s BSF programme

Birmingham City Council, public private partnerships investor Catalyst Lend Lease and Building Schools for the Future Investments (BSFI) have achieved Financial Close on the framework agreement and to kick start the first £180 million phase of the city’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Birmingham is Europe’s largest metropolitan authority and over the next 10-15 years many of the city’s secondary, primary and special schools, accommodating over 150,000 students, will undergo a radical transformation, together with other related community facilities.

Catalyst Lend Lease and its construction partner Bovis Lend Lease will work with16 leading architectural practices to deliver the complex programme requirements which are spread over six phases, completing in 2024. Facilities manager Vita Lend Lease will maintain the completed schools on 25-year contracts to ensure that standards of service and maintenance are consistently high throughout the life of the partnership and beyond.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) will play a key part in enabling the transformation of education and supporting collaboration between learning communities. This will be delivered as part of a sustainable 10-year contract which will create a 21st century learning environment, supplied and maintained by Catalyst’s long-term ICT partner, Redstone.

Construction of the first schools has already started at Broadway, Stockland Green Technology College and on the co-located Holte Secondary School, Mayfield Special Needs School and Lozells Primary School sites. All of these are due to open in March 2011. Design development is well underway on 14 more schools which will open in 2012.

Cllr Les Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Birmingham City Council, said: “This first phase of the BSF programme comes as a great boost to our efforts to lift the city out of the current recession. It is also the start of a much longer journey that we are on to improve the life opportunities of children through improved educational settings.”

Sylvia McNamara, director of Birmingham City Council’s Transforming Education programme and the lead on the BSF project added: “The BSF programme is more than just buildings. We’re making a bold commitment to transform the way students learn and interact with each other; the spaces in which the curriculum is delivered and ensuring schools are at the heart of our local communities.”

“This is a great day for us and for the people of Birmingham,” said Gary Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of Catalyst Lend Lease. “Over the coming years we want to create new learning environments in the city that will match the expectations and the needs of teachers and students far into the 21st century.

“We aim to play our part in helping students to fully realise their potential by providing better schooling and more opportunities, both to learn and to work. Our goal is to make these schools memorable for everyone and also to create long-term jobs for the community through our construction supply chain and community and skills development programme.”

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, the organisation responsible for delivering the BSF programme nationally said: “I am delighted that Birmingham has reached Financial Close as it is a major milestone in the city’s BSF project which will see not only pupils and students benefitting from new school buildings but local communities as a whole.”

To reduce carbon emissions and operating costs the schools will be equipped with wood chip burning biomass boilers and solar panels. Wind turbines will be installed and rainwater from the roofs of the schools will be collected in storage tanks to supplement mains supplies used to flush lavatories. These sustainable solutions will also feature in the school’s educational curriculum.

Thirty local companies are already in line for contracts on the first schools and Bovis Lend Lease is keen to recruit other businesses based in the West Midlands to the BSF supply chain.

The goal is to generate new wealth and employment in the area by awarding contracts to local businesses and encouraging them to recruit new employees from the city’s school leavers.

  • Category: All services
  • Reference number: SN-348
  • Issue date: 26 August 2009