Sir Robert McAlpine has today announced practical completion of Co-op Academy Belle Vue in East Manchester, with the school opening this week. Formerly a 12.6-acre brownfield site hosting a Showcase Cinema, the new co-educational school will be home to 1,200 pupils when full and consists of a main three-storey building including reception, community hub, library and dining hall, with a teaching block and adjoining drama block.
The new Co-op Academy Belle Vue also boasts a two-storey sports block with Sports England-standard pitches and a multi-use games area behind it that will accommodate a range of sports including tennis and basketball and training for netball and hockey. The sports block was built with separate access for the wider East Manchester community, and both school and community will be served by Co-op Academy Belle Vue’s new 140-space car park with electric charging points and play area.
Sir Robert McAlpine worked closely with an array of stakeholders on the project, from sub-contractors to the Co-op Academies Trust. Co-op Academies Trust has 30 schools and colleges across the north of England and was appointed by the Department for Education in cooperation with Manchester City Council to run Co-op Academy Belle Vue since its first intake of year 7 students in September 2021. Co-op Academy Belle Vue operated from temporary premises in Connell Co-op College, East Manchester whilst Sir Robert McAlpine was working on the new site.
With the end user in mind, principles of education and community engagement guided the project at all stages. Sir Robert McAlpine hosted two students at a time from a nearby construction college to provide practical hands-on site experience during the build, and it supported subcontractor Marlborough in providing bricklaying demonstrations at a local college, in a move to help address the current skills gap.
In addition, the project was named ‘Best Framework Collaboration Project’ at the Pagabo awards last year alongside Faithful+Gould and Manchester City Council.
Paul Quinn, Sir Robert McAlpine’s Regional Director – North West & Yorkshire, commented, “We are proud to deliver this new state-of-the-art school for East Manchester. The project is testament to the cooperation and positivity of our teams. Spaces for young people and communities to come together, learn and thrive are so important, and we hope East Manchester enjoys all that Belle Vue has to offer.”
Dr Chris Tomlinson, CEO of the Co-op Academies Trust, said, “We are delighted the students can move in and start enjoying Co-op Academy Belle Vue’s state of the art new site. It may not be a new school year, but it’s a new year nonetheless, and it’s great to see it in by looking forward to delivering all the ambitious and aspirational young futures this new site will help Co-op Academy Belle Vue’s students to achieve. My sincere thanks to Vicki England, Project Manager for Co-op Academies Trust, Sir Robert McAlpine and all the teams involved.”
Jonathan Parker, Head of Construction at Pagabo, said: “I’m delighted to see this fantastic project reach completion, with the state-of-the-art facilities now ready for students to take advantage of. Manchester City Council engaged with Pagabo to appoint both a consultant and contractor for the scheme. Our Professional Services and Major Works frameworks provided the perfect solutions, with Faithful+Gould and Sir Robert McAlpine appointed in a quick and compliant manner. The collaboration between the entire project team has been clear to see from day one and is a huge reason why they were recognised for this at our yearly awards ceremony in 2022.”
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