The final bids to build Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton’s schools of the future are in.
Next month, one of two major national building firms will be officially chosen to head up the huge Building Schools for the Future (BSF) education programme straddling the areas.
Private building consortia Balfour Beatty Education and BDB Learning Partnership, the delivery partner of Laing O'Rourke, are bidding to build the schools, and have now submitted their completed submissions for the massive project.
Blackburn with Darwen Council and Bolton Council's joint BSF team, including head teachers, executive council members with specialists including transformational learning, ICT and technical advisors, will now closely examine the colossal bids from the consortia and make their decision in September.
They will work through hundreds of documents in their specialist areas for each bidder over the coming weeks, and will award points which will then be tallied up.
The consortia with the highest number of points will be awarded the hotly contested bid.
The bids include the designs for each of the first two Blackburn and Darwen schools to be built under the programme, Darwen Vale High School and Pleckgate High School Mathematics and Computing College. The Blackburn with Darwen phase of the programme will total £230m.
Blackburn with Darwen Council is working in partnership with Bolton Council in the multi-million pound BSF programme which will see schools in the areas rebuilt or remodelled from 2010 onwards.
It will transform education in Blackburn with Darwen with nine centres of learning excellence across eight sites in the borough, and Bolton’s first phase will transform eight schools by 2013.
The eventual selected company will not just be building schools - it will be supporting the creation of a whole new educational environment for pupils in the borough and building and shaping these beacon schools of the future.
The firms have incorporated creative ideas from the pupils into the school designs, and state-of-the-art ICT and the latest technology will be a major feature of the schools.
As well as this, the schools will be community-friendly, with spaces, technology and sports and health facilities open to everyone after school hours.
A final decision on which consortia will build the schools is due to be made in September, with building work on Darwen Vale and Pleckgate starting in January 2010.
Councillor Chris Thayne, Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive member for children's services, said: “The choosing of a preferred bidder is a vital task utilising all the skills and experience of everyone on the evaluation team in making this important judgement. This will be a huge step taking us ever closer to the transformation of education for young people in the borough.”
Councillor Ebrahim Adia, Bolton Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “Establishing a preferred bidder gets us one step closer to our goal of transforming education for Bolton’s young people, and it is great that we now have the options in front of us.”