A consortium, comprising Skanska and Mill Group, has achieved financial close on a £36 million PFI schools project for the London Borough of Bexley.
The South East London scheme is for the design, build, finance and operation of two secondary schools, Bexleyheath and Welling. Both facilities will remain in operation throughout the project, requiring a close working relationship with each school whilst the new buildings are constructed to avoid disrupting delivery of education to pupils.
Bexleyheath School - a 2100 place school is the biggest in the Borough and one of the largest in London. The project involves the development of a major new teaching block to house the upper and lower schools as well as the refurbishment and extension of the existing school buildings to provide improved sports facilities.
At Welling – a 1500 place school, temporary education accommodation will be provided during construction whilst the development of a new sports hall and teaching block is carried out. Existing buildings will be refurbished in a multi-phased operation and in addition, a new all weather sports pitch will be provided.
Councillor Perrin, Bexley’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning said, “This scheme will provide much needed new facilities at two of our largest schools. It will assist in raising education standards within the borough and provide the modern facilities our pupils and teachers deserve”.
Simon Hipperson, Executive Vice President Skanska UK said “The Bexley Schools scheme further reinforces Skanska’s commitment to building better learning environments and delivering state-of-the-art facilities for pupils at these two schools in Bexley. We have worked closely with the schools and the local community in developing the designs and look forward to successfully completing the projects.
“Skanska has now successfully completed four PFI schools in East London, with Mill Group and a further 14 schools nationwide over the last three-years with a further 11 on-site under a framework agreement.”
Andrew Robertson, Project Director and Commercial Director Mill Group said “This scheme has built upon the solid relationship already established with Skanska and is an ideal scheme with which to launch our new Investors in the Community Fund. Credit must be paid to the Council’s project team who have worked hard to deliver this major improvement to Bexley’s educational resources. The Project demonstrates how successful working in partnership can be”.
Construction of both schools will commence in late spring of this year and they will be fully operational by the autumn of 2005.
Both Skanska and Mill Group, through its Investors in the Community Funds are equity investors in the scheme with senior debt being provided by Nationwide.
Following construction, Facilities Management will be provided at both sites by Kier Support Services for a period of 25-years.