Morgan Sindall Construction breaks ground on £5.3 million Spencer Highfields Academy


Morgan Sindall Construction has been appointed by Derbyshire County Council to deliver a new £5.3 million primary school on Tutbury Avenue in Littleover, Derby.

The project has been procured through the Scape Regional Construction framework (RCF). Morgan Sindall Construction will celebrate two years on the framework in February 2020.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held this week to celebrate the beginning of onsite works. It was attended by representatives from the main contractor and Derbyshire County Council, alongside members of the Spencer Academy Trust and Lungfish Architects. Spencer Highfields Academy will be governed by the trust, which runs primary, secondary and sixth form provisions across the East Midlands.

Derbyshire County Council has commissioned the scheme in anticipation of a population surge generated by Highfields Estate, the new build housing development where the school will be situated. Once complete, the school will provide 210 primary and 26 nursery places.

Plans outline a single-storey, 15,510 square foot main building. This will house seven general purpose classrooms, a reception, nursery and a double storey main hall.

External facilities include a soft play area, a large playing field, and a MUGA pitch. Students will also benefit from a visitors’ garden and allotment area. There will also be a parking area and cycle storage facilities.

Designed by Lungfish Architects, the new development is using offsite modular construction methods. Modular building allows for greater time efficiency within the build programme, alongside considerably decreased carbon emissions. Offsite work has already commenced on forty-five pre-fabricated modules at subcontractor Eco Modular’s factory in Hull. These will then be delivered to site and completed in time for the new academic year.

Rob Cant, Framework Director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Modular building is proving incredibly popular in the education sector – and with good reason. Advances in technology mean that modern methods of construction can deliver high-quality 21st century learning environments within constrained time scales and with minimal disruption to day-to-day school life.

“Offsite construction results in reduced subcontractor traffic, and embodied carbon, while the expandable nature of the design facilitates easy expansion should population growth necessitate it in future.

“We’re naturally very pleased to be working with Lungfish Architects on another key education project for Derby; and to be delivering it through Scape Group’s Regional Construction framework (RCF), which we celebrate two years on next month.”

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale said: “We’re very pleased to be working in partnership on this exciting project and making the best use of our resources to provide a high-quality modern school for local children and for use by the wider community.

“We approved the requirement for a new school to respond to the need for more school places due to significant housing developments in the area and also to provide much-needed nursery provision.

“We were pleased to be involved in its design and it is our first whole school modular build – a building innovation recommended by the Department for Education – which makes it quick, efficient and cost-effective and also reduces construction disruption for local residents.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said “future proofing our education facilities now in preparation for the increase in population is vital to ensure that education standards can continue to improve. It is reassuring that Derbyshire County Council has taken this strategic approach and is further investing in its constituents’ education with Spencer Highfields Academy.”

Simon Reid, Lungfish Architects Managing Director, commented “By working collaboratively with Derbyshire County Council, Morgan Sindall and utilising our expertise in designing schools using offsite modular construction techniques, we are creating innovative, engaging spaces that will enhance the learning experience for the pupils.”

Work is expected to complete on the project by September 2020.

Last year, Morgan Sindall Construction and Lungfish worked together on the nearby Hackwood Primary Academy which opened in September. The modular project has been hailed for the speed of delivery, which saw work progress from planning to completion in less than a year.


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