Morgan Sindall Construction held a groundbreaking ceremony recently to mark the start of a school expansion project in Suffolk that will deliver much-needed special educational needs and disability provision (SEND), along with 150 new student places.
The expansion at the Chantry Academy in Ipswich has been instructed by Suffolk County Council, with Concertus Design & Property Consultants operating as the council’s consultants for the procurement, development and design of the project. The work is part of a county-wide bid to address increasing demand for school places, coming as a result of new housing developments.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held onsite on the 25th November. The project is scheduled to complete in September 2022, at which point it will provide the school with 13 brand new classrooms and additional facilities in a reconfiguration of the existing school building.
The project will comprise of three phases with a combined value of more than £3m. Phase one will involve the development of a new, stand-alone SEND block, incorporating two classrooms, and is scheduled to complete in spring 2022. The second phase, which is due to be finished in autumn 2022, will see the construction of a two storey, 11-classroom extension, together with a new library circulation space and toilets. In phase three the existing school will be remodelled to provide alternative teaching spaces, music practice rooms and extended dining facilities.
Hard and soft landscaping is also being delivered by the Morgan Sindall Construction team, alongside a car park extension to provide additional staff parking. The new developments are being designed to blend in with the existing school.
Morgan Sindall Construction will be calling upon years of experience in the delivery of SEND facilities for the Chantry Academy project. The firm has invested heavily in consulting, developing and refining the design of SEND schools to give the best possible educational experience. In 2020, it released a landmark ‘Building Better Futures’ report, which used cross-sector knowledge to look at enhancing SEND school design and delivery and improving the student, teacher, carer and family experience.
Alister Broadberry, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Eastern Counties, commented: “We are experienced at delivering inclusive environments for all and are delighted to have started work on the Chantry Academy project, which will not only help Suffolk County Council to meet the need for SEND school places in the area but will also offer an outstanding range of new facilities and classroom spaces for the school in general.”
“We look forward to working closely with the Chantry Academy team, to deliver in exact accordance with their needs while minimising disruption in what will be a live school environment.
“Morgan Sindall Construction is committed to enriching the communities that sit at the heart of our schemes, with our site team and wider project partners engaging in various social value initiatives within the area as the build progresses.”
Rachel Hood, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and skills, said: “It is wonderful to see the progress being made at the new SEND unit. It will make such a difference to young people at the school. I am committed to increasing the number of SEND placements in Suffolk and ensuring that we provide the very best education for all of our children and young people.”