We handed over five new schools on the same day as part of a PFI project for Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council.
Seven new schools were delivered across Gateshead catering for 4,000 pupils.
Funded through the Government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI), the project involved five new primary schools: Harlow Green, Rowlands Gill, Dunston Hill, and two with shared facilities, Highfield and St Joseph’s. It also provides the Lord Lawson of Beamish and Kingsmeadow secondary schools.
As part of the Pinnacle Schools consortium we will be operating and maintaining the schools over a 25-year concession period.
We drew on our extensive PFI experience for this design, build and operate project. The scheme’s design, construction, facilities management, financial and legal specialists worked as one integrated team from the outset to deliver the schools and ensure their long-term success.
At Highfield and St Joseph’s the challenge was to provide two schools and two nurseries, all sharing facilities but each with their own identity. The outcome is a site which provides each school with dedicated classrooms while also enabling them to share some facilities such as IT resources. It is also a place which offers something to all members of the community, whatever their age.
A pond at the Highfield St Joseph’s site provides educational and amenity use while also being part of a sustainable urban drainage system.
The secondary schools in particular were designed with today’s increased emphasis on vocational training in mind. Lord Lawson secondary school, for example, includes a hairdressing salon which is open to the public, boosting the students’ career opportunities and giving them the chance to improve their social skills.
Now that construction is completed, we will be operating and providing facilities management services at the schools for the next 25 years.
A fully integrated partnering charter was agreed between the public and private sector partners which is continuing in the operational phase. On a project typified by excellent relations with the client, challenges were always resolved on a team basis.
“We were all delighted by the support and professionalism provided by the whole of the construction team who ensured our PFI school was built to a high specification and delivered on time. The relationships that were created have continued to grow and develop and we look forward to working in partnership for years to come.” - Head Teacher, Harlow Green Community Primary School