A multi-million pound building project has been completed that will give more than 8,000 school pupils across Hertfordshire, Luton and Reading access to top-quality education facilities.
The £135m project was undertaken by developer and investor Kajima, and partner Interserve Investments, and saw the completion of seven state-of-the-art schools, comprising Kings Langley School, Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School, Goffs School in Cheshunt, Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead, Reading Girls' School, Stopsley High School in Luton, and Westfield Academy in Watford.
The rebuild was part of the government's £4.4bn Priority School Building Programme, which is rebuilding or refurbishing those school buildings in the very worst condition across the country.
This is one of five batches of schools to be funded using the Government's PF2 private finance model and the 19th privately financed education project in which Kajima has invested.
Contracted to the Education Funding Agency, Kajima and Interserve began construction work in March 2015, assuming primary responsibility for design and construction, as well as hard facilities management and lifecycle service for the seven schools over a 25-year concession period.
Through the project, Kajima and Interserve have created modern, multi-purpose assets to satisfy educational demand and serve the local community for years to come.
These seven schools are characterised by innovative and modern designs that respond to numerous site constraints, while also meeting strict design quality and education provision standards mandated by the Education Funding Agency.
Design elements of Kings Langley School, which was completed in September 2016 were replicated in the other six schools involved in the project, using a range of standard design principles to ensure that the building is both functional and flexible.
The design team aimed to make the most of passive environmental solutions, such as maximising the orientation of the building to enhance natural daylight and ventilation, which will ultimately lead to reduced operational running costs.
Craig Smailes, project director of Kajima Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to announce the completion of the seven PSBP schools in what has been a difficult market. Kajima worked closely with the principal contractor to ensure the design and construction of each school correctly responded to the comprehensive facilities output specification and financial benchmarks required by the EFA.
"We have long-standing experience in designing and building schools, as well as an enduring commitment to public sector projects in the UK. Our involvement in this project reaffirms Kajima’s support of the government’s efforts to modernise the exiting school’s estate recognising the influence modern teaching facilities have on educational outcomes.”
Charles Ainslie, school business manager at Reading Girls’ School, was delighted by the outcome of the project.
He said: “Reading Girls’ School now occupies a new 8100m2 building, housing all its educational needs under one roof. The attention to detail and quality of build meant our handover didn’t turn into weeks or months of items being finished while we got on with the first term in the new building. Community liaison has been impeccable with all local issues dealt with in an understanding and considerate manner, maintaining our relationship with our close neighbours. The onsite project team kept us in the communications loop at all times and worked around our needs to minimise any disruption. Having a single point of contact for all the various elements from the design to operational use has meant the incredible coordination happening in the background has been almost invisible to us meaning that there has been minimal impact on the resources we have had to devote over the four years to this project from concept to reality. Interserve Kajima has and will ensure Reading Girls’ School provides our students the best possible environment to secure their future.”