Kingswood, a major provider of residential educational activity centres in the UK, has appointed Willmott Dixon on a £7m contract to construct its new flagship facility on the site of the former Earth Centre. Work will begin in October and is due for completion in spring 2012.

The former Earth Centre has been vacant since 2004 and Kingswood was confirmed as the preferred purchaser of the site from Doncaster Council earlier this year. Kingswood currently operates nine educational centres which are visited by more than 145,000 pupils from 3,000 schools and 130 local authorities. The 50-acre site near Doncaster will be transformed into the Kingswood Dearne Valley Centre - a flagship educational centre bringing visitors to the area from throughout the country.

Paul Gilbert Kingswood CEO said: “We are investing more than £10 million to develop our new centre and it is very important to us to find a construction partner that has both the policies and approach to bring the former Earth Centre back to life in a way that embraces our commitment to education and the community.

“Willmott Dixon has the sustainable and education sector expertise that will deliver just that.”

Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North said: “We’re delighted to be appointed on this project. Much of the sustainable technology that was installed in the former Earth Centre is still pioneering and our work will ensure that we protect and reclaim every aspect we can.

“We are also making sure that local businesses benefit as much as possible. For example, we monitor our use of subcontractors within a 10 or 30 mile radius to ensure as much work as possible is done by local companies. We will also work with Kingswood to reach out to local schools to keep them involved and informed as the project develops.”

Work to be undertaken by Willmott Dixon includes the refurbishment of existing buildings including the welcome centre, conference building, café, multi-purpose hall, class rooms, reception and retail space, laser quest area, climbing wall and many satellite outbuildings. Accommodation for pupils and teachers will also be built to provide 120 rooms.

Willmott Dixon has a ten point set of environmental goals it sets on every project. This includes a commitment by 2012 to divert 100% of construction waste away from landfill.

The Kingswood Dearne Valley Centre will open with a unique range of facilities, including wind and solar power, waste water harvesting, biodiversity, recycling and new ICT labs – all of which will give students the chance to gain hands-on experience. Young people will also enjoy a wide range of activities such as a high-adrenaline ropes course, low height initiative exercises and performing arts facilities.

When the centre is fully operational, Kingswood expects to employ up to 200 staff across a range of jobs from educational instruction through to IT support and catering.

For further information, please contact:
Andrew Geldard, Group Communications, Willmott Dixon.
Tel: (01462) 671852

Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon Group is the UK’s second largest privately-owned construction, regeneration and support services company.

• In capital works, we work with government, local authority and private sector clients, delivering capital projects in education, justice, retail, health and social housing. We also deliver interior design and fit-out services, plus sustainability consultancy to meet the low carbon challenges we all face.
• In regeneration, we develop complex mixed-tenure projects, often in joint venture with developers, local authorities and RSLs. We also seek opportunities in urban areas and are actively involved in developing accommodation under the PPP.
• In support services, we deliver a range of planned, preventative and responsive care to property, which includes maintaining 135,000 homes across the UK and providing a fast efficient service to a number of commercial brands

The Group’s family values and people focused culture has seen it appear for the past three years as the highest placed major contractor in the prestigious Sunday Times Best Companies to work for list.

The company's focus on being a low carbon, sustainable business includes a commitment to send zero waste to landfill and be a carbon neutral business by 2012, which is being delivered through the company’s ‘Everyone Plays A Part’ campaign. It has featured for the past three year in the Sunday Times Green Companies list, an important benchmark for current performance and for encouraging year-on-year improvement.