Balfour Beatty Education has been named as the preferred bidder for the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which will revolutionise schools in Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton.
And the company has released artists’ impressions revealing how the first two schools to be built – Darwen Vale High School and Pleckgate Mathematics and Computing College – will look.
Balfour Beatty Education was chosen as the private partner for the programme following a stringent procurement process and will build or remodel nine schools across Blackburn with Darwen in a single phase and 15 schools in Bolton through three phases.
The company will form a Local Education Partnership with Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen councils to deliver BSF across both boroughs. ICT firm Northgate will form part of the consortium to provide technology for the schools in the programme.
Work is due to start at Pleckgate in January 2010 and at Darwen Vale in September 2010. The schools will be rebuilt or extensively remodelled to provide state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities and will be open for community use.
Councillor Ebrahim Adia, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Bolton Council, said: “The bidders for this contract faced a vigorous selection process and the council and its stakeholders had to be sure they selected the right company for the job.”
“Today is another step on the way to the regeneration of Bolton’s schools and communities that BSF will bring and it is tremendously exciting for all involved.
“The designs for the two sample schools look excellent, and I am sure that Bolton’s schools will look just as good as they do.”
Councillor Chris Thayne, Executive Member for Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Children’s Services, congratulated Balfour Beatty Education and said: "It’s very exciting to see the programme progressing well and I am especially glad that the first two schools to start work were involved in shaping the designs.
“BSF will affect virtually everyone in Blackburn and Darwen and will shape the future of the area, its communities and its learners. It is a massive investment in schools, but it is about more than buildings because it is also the chance to transform learning for generations of pupils through an innovative and personalised curriculum.”
Balfour Beatty education managing director, David Swarbrick, said: “This award demonstrates Balfour Beatty’s continuing strength and expertise in the education sector. We are delighted to be creating first-class learning environments for both students and teachers at Blackburn, Darwen and Bolton and look forward to delivering our ninth major UK PPP education project.”
Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, the government agency responsible for managing the national BSF programme, said: “Reaching this milestone is excellent news for the young people, teachers and local communities across Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton as it brings transformed schools and state-of-the-art technologies a step closer.
“At its heart, BSF is about improving the life chances for all young people, whatever their background, whatever their needs. I look forward to seeing Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton’s BSF projects take shape.”