The winning bid for University Church of England Academy, Ellesmere.

A £25m boost was confirmed last year to Ellesmere Port Academy by the Government.

The University Church of England Academy in Ellesmere Port was among 123 academy projects across the country cast into doubt early last month when Mr Gove halted Building Schools for the Future schemes where work had not yet begun.

This animation produced by us in an ever shortening timeframe for BSF, supported Kier in their proposal – which was recently declared the preferred bid.

Kier Education has been announced as preferred bidder to build the new 1350 state- of- the- art Academy on Whitby Road in Ellesmere Port. The remaining planning issues are expected to be dealt with during the design development stage and it is anticipated that this will enable a start on site to be made in the autumn of 2011.

Kier are one of 12 contractors selected through a local competition from the National Schools framework. The design and build contract value will be an estimated £20m + subject to final DfE funding approval. Kier will build the Academy on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester; the architects chosen by Kier Education are BDP.

Kier will work closely with the Academy and community to fully develop detailed design proposals. The new build is likely to take 64 weeks and is currently programmed to be completed by Christmas 2012. Further local stakeholder consultation will be undertaken to inform the detailed design stages.

The University of Chester are lead sponsors for the Academy which specialises in Mathematics, Sport and Performing Arts. Co – sponsors are the Diocese of Chester and Cheshire West and Chester Council. Members from all the sponsors scored the two proposed bids and moderated scores, after a rigorous tender process; it was a difficult decision as both plans of the final 2 bids were outstanding but Kier was successful and announced as the preferred builder.

Excited students will transfer from South campus (former Cheshire Oaks High school) and North Campus (formerly EPSSPA).The design will provide the very best in teaching and learning facilities including the latest ICT equipment and learning tools and first class sporting facilities.

Proposed plans reveal a striking modern facility, complete with drama and performance areas, a creative learning centre, faraday science laboratories, media centre and 550 seat theatre, fully integrated special needs provision, multi level reflection space, internal gardens and courtyard. The outside areas will feature further performing arts spaces. Sports facilities are second to none with 2 full size football pitches, 6 multi sports courts and outdoor fitness areas, finished off with open landscaped areas, allotments and pond. The building is carefully designed to maximise learning space integrating social areas such as dining, internet cafe, sixth form and staff meeting areas together. Designed over 3 floors there are terraces for the junior, senior college’s staff and sixth form alike. Cutting edge IT facilities will be the best available which will ensure each students needs regardless of faith, background or ability will flourish within this unique environment academically, physically and spiritually.

Academy principal Kevin McDermott said “We now enter an exciting time for our community, as we will be able to fully engage all stakeholders in the development of the design. The new building will be more than a ‘school’, it will be an icon for our community; it will enable our students to live their dreams and it will ensure our talented staff can best support outstanding teaching and learning. Our students, staff and community deserve this!”

Dr Colin Hankinson Executive director for Academy development at the University of Chester said;
“We are very pleased to be working with Kier and know they will deliver an outstanding Academy building worthy of our staff and students; we chose this contractor due to their response to our vision and needs. This new Academy will transform learning, inspire our students to greater heights and dreams and provide a broad range of new opportunities for the entire Academy and wider community”

Nigel Brook, Managing Director, Kier Northern hearing of their successful bid commented; “‘Kier are delighted to be the preferred contractor for UCE Academy. Along with our designers, BDP architects and engineering consultants WSP, we believe that we have forged a genuinely collaborative partnership with the Academy, Authority and sponsors and look forward to continuing this as we move into the next phase in delivering the new academy. This is an important project for us and we recognise the significance of the project in creating the very best learning environment for the young people of Ellesmere Port. By moving from the two predecessor school sites to the new gateway site the academy will demonstrate the vision and commitment of the sponsors and will provide a catalyst for the regeneration of Ellesmere Port.”

Councillor Arthur Harada, Executive Member for Children’s Services, at Cheshire West and Cheshire Council said: “The announcement for the preferred bidder means that plans for the new Academy building can now be finalised. As the owners of the new school building we will be working closely with Kier and this really is an exciting phase with building work beginning this autumn and completion due by Christmas next year.”

Sutton and Manor Councillor, Paul Donovan, said: “The new building on Sutton Way is extremely important for the town of Ellesmere Port. I am sure that local people will be watching the progress of the scheme with great interest during the planning process.”

Added Sutton and Manor Councillor Bob Crompton: “The announcement of the preferred bidder is wonderful news for Ellesmere Port and is an important step in making the new building a reality.”