Company awarded £8.2m contract to deliver a new teaching block, extension and refurbishment at St Bernard’s School.

Local contractor Willmott Dixon has started on site at its third SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) school project for Lincolnshire County Council, as part of their wider £86 million SEND school programme currently being rolled out across the county.

The £8.2m St Bernard’s School project in Wood Lane, Louth, to be delivered through SCAPE, one of the UK’s leading public sector procurement authorities, will see the creation of a new teaching block as well as the extension and refurbishment of the existing facility to allow the school to offer ‘all through, all needs’ facilities to local students.

Procured through SCAPE Construction, the works will see the creation of a dedicated hygiene suite, kitchen, dining space, laundry area and meeting room, along with renovated medical professional areas, increased office and break out spaces, a new library and additional car parking.

Nick Heath, director of operations at Willmott Dixon, said:

“We’re very excited about starting onsite at another SEND school in Lincolnshire, after recently beginning construction at Eresby School in Spilsby and Willoughby School in Bourne. Investment in SEND schools across the region is essential to supporting local students, and we’re incredibly proud that we can be a part of providing these much-needed, life-changing facilities.
“The new build and extension have been designed to complement St Bernard’s School’s existing buildings, to maintain connectivity with the main school and ensure cohesion across the campus. It was important to encourage unity between both the buildings and students in each facility.”

St Bernard’s new teaching block will provide additional classrooms with increased PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities) support to expand the school’s offering – including a dedicated therapy area, main hall with combined dining and PE space, art space, new life skills and recreation spaces, staff areas and office space.

Nick continued:

“A huge part of our ethos at Willmott Dixon is to leave a lasting legacy on the communities we work within. St Bernard’s School is a great example of this, enhancing its pre-existing facilities and creating new ones to better support local students and help to meet their educational, health and care requirements.”

As part of Willmott Dixon’s commitment to leaving a lasting legacy, the contractor will also be investing £585,000 worth of social value back into the community by introducing initiatives that include the improvement of staff wellbeing, supporting local people into employment and providing NEET students with employability skills and training opportunities.

Martin Smith, assistant director for education at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

"The council wants to ensure that all children can access high-quality education, as near to their family and local community as possible. To help achieve that, we're investing £86m in improving our special schools over the next few years.
"Our ambitious programme will mean more pupils with SEND can attend a local school rather than having to travel large distances for their education, which will be of great benefit to both the children and their families.
"Despite the pandemic, we're making excellent progress and improvements are now underway at a number of local schools. This project will greatly benefit pupils at St Bernard's and we look forward to seeing it completed."

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, said:

“We’re delighted that Willmott Dixon is delivering refurbishment works on St Bernard’s School, allowing the school to enhance its provision and increase capacity.
“This is the third SEND school project Willmott Dixon is delivering for Lincolnshire County Council through SCAPE, which is a true testament to the collaborative relationship and shared vision to provide high quality education facilities for all children and young people.
“The project will not only deliver much needed SEND provision for the local community but it will also leave a lasting legacy by way of tangible social value. It’s a privilege to have helped accelerate this important project through SCAPE Construction.”

The project marks the latest in a series of local projects Willmott Dixon is delivering in Lincolnshire, creating prosperity in the community and supporting local supply chains. As well as delivering an extensive SEND schools programme, in March, the business handed over the £7m Centre of Excellence to the University of Lincoln. The facility provides a cutting edge agri-food R&D facility in Holbeach, creating jobs and encouraging inward investment.

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