Company will create capacity for 1,020 pupils by 2020.

Willmott Dixon has been appointed to expand the capacity of a newly opened free school in Crawley so it can meet demand for primary and secondary places in the area.

The company has been commissioned by The Crawley Free School Trust for pre-construction work on a £8.6 million contract at The Gatwick School to convert a two-storey office building at Manor Royal Business Park near Gatwick Airport into an all-through school (Reception to Year 11). It also includes construction of a new four-court sports hall.

The non-denominational, co-educational school opened in September with an initial intake of 60 reception pupils and 30 Year 7 students. When pre-construction work is complete next April, Willmott Dixon will start on site to provide new space for the school to reach its full capacity of 1,020 pupils in 2020.

Willmott Dixon has a big presence in Surrey through its office in Cobham. Earlier this year, it celebrated completion of the UK’s first boarding Free School – Holyport College in Berkshire, which was opened by Home Secretary Theresa May MP. Like with The Gatwick School, the £16 million contract to build Holyport College was procured through Scape, a national framework enabling the public sector to procure construction quicker and more efficiently.

“We’re eager to start this pre-construction phase and look forward to helping the school provide fantastic new learning facilities for thousands of pupils over the coming years that are local to the Gatwick area.

“Through our work in the construction of Free Schools – particularly that of Holyport College - we can see the different approach being taken to education facilities across the UK. We are delighted to bring our expertise to The Gatwick School.”

Roger Forsdyke, managing director for Willmott Dixon in Cobham.