Willmott Dixon has been appointed preferred contractor by Croydon Council for a £18.5 million project to remodel and extend the new Harris Academy Purley on Kendra Hall Road.

The academy opened in September 2009 and Willmott Dixon will team up with Aedas architects to transform its current facility into an environment which feels modern, bright and practical.

The project will also add a host of sustainable features to reduce the academy’s carbon footprint, with over 25 per cent of its energy to come from renewable sources such as photovoltaic solar power and natural ventilation, helping it achieve a BREEAM rating of excellent.

With three quarter of the academy’s transformation comprising new build, a centre piece of the project will be a striking entrance façade on a new four storey building to house the Business and Enterprise faculty, the academy’s specialism. Facilities for another specialism, sport, will also be enhanced with more hard courts and a full size all weather pitch.

Willmott Dixon will now work with Croydon Council and academy sponsor, The Harris Federation, to agree design details and obtain planning permission prior to financial close. Work to transform Harris Academy Purley should start on site in January 2011 and complete by summer 2012.

The project will be carried out by Willmott Dixon’s office in Cobham, which is also responsible for the redevelop of nearby Coulsdon College and the redevelopment of The Oasis Academy, also in Coulsdon. The same office is also behind landmark regional projects including a 50 metre training pool and sporting excellence complex at Surrey University, plus a new concert and entertainment venue in Guildford.

Willmott Dixon managing director in Cobham Mark Tant said, “We are delighted to be in line for another substantial education project for Croydon Council, which will help give young people the best possible education opportunities.

“What’s interesting with The Harris Academy Purley is that it involves different types of work, from refurbishing elements of the existing school to remodeling and adding new buildings and facilities. Our plan has also allowed more new-build features and accommodation to be added than on the original brief.”