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Willmott Dixon lands £19m academy school in Yardley Wood

Willmott Dixon has added to its extensive track-record of education projects in Birmingham by being awarded the £19m contract to deliver a new three storey secondary academy school in Yardley Wood.

Christ Church, Church of England, Secondary Academy – which is due to open in 2021 – is being built by the Department for Education (DfE) to create a further 1,150 school places in the region.

Designed by architecture firm CPMG Architects, the new school will comprise of a pick-up and drop-off area for pupils, a sports hall, two full-size football pitches and one FA standard 3G pitch. When complete the school will accommodate 900 pupils and a further 250 students in the sixth form

The contract extends Willmott Dixon’s track record in Birmingham building places where people can learn life-long skills. Other schemes include University of Birmingham’s School of Engineering and its Teaching and Learning Building as well as projects for Birmingham City University and the creation of the National College of High Speed Rail. The company’s focus on Midlands growth also saw it recently open two Birmingham-based offices in Snowhill for its construction and interior fit-out teams.

Dan Doyle, operations director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We are pleased to be working with the DfE to create a new contemporary building which will meet the needs of the local community. This new building will enhance the current area, provide state of the art facilities for students and create an outstanding school for Yardley Wood.”

Constructed under the Education & Skills Funding Agency High Value Contractors Framework, the new building has been designed to be both elegant and sophisticated, using robust and durable materials that will stand the test of time.

Working closely with the customer, CPMG has established a design concept based on the Academy’s new branding, introducing a calming colour palette of neutral colours, interspersed with feature elements in the Academy’s signature blue and yellow.

Traditional materials have been used in a contemporary way to create a clean and simple aesthetic, whilst providing robustness and ease of maintenance including; a concrete raft ground floor, traditional brick and block wall construction with feature of render and façade cladding to express the academy’s identity.

The Birmingham Diocesan Multi-Academy Trust said: “We are delighted that the building is underway and are certain that Willmott Dixon will deliver a school that will open new opportunities for the young people of Yardley Wood.”

Sara Harraway, director at CPMG Architects, said: “The design will create a positive, bright, robust and attractive environment for the education of the next generation of students and will promote a sense of calm and sophistication.

“Large, high windows will be integrated into the design to optimise daylight – just one of the many elements ensuring the wellbeing of the building’s users.

“We’re really pleased to be working with Willmott Dixon on this latest development, and to be showcasing our expertise in educational buildings, and we look forward to working together to bring over 1,100 new school places to the local area. During the build Willmott Dixon will be collaborating with local schools as part of its enrichment programme – a five-week programme, where young people gain personal and professional skills including communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership – endorsed by HRH Prince Charles.  The contractor will also be opening the site to local students and apprentices, giving them the chance to visit a new build project too.”

Willmott Dixon believes it has a purpose beyond profit and has recently achieved its target of enhancing the life chances of 10,000 young people by 2020, in 2018 it was also awarded the Queen’s award for Enterprise in the category of promoting opportunity through social mobility, its third Queen’s award for Enterprise in total.