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Thu September 16 2021

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Kier in for Willmott Dixon to build Northumberland campus

5 Oct 18 Kier has been chosen to replace Willmott Dixon as main contractor on Northumberland County Council’s £42m Ponteland school and leisure development.

Model of the new Ponteland school and sports campus, designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects
Model of the new Ponteland school and sports campus, designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Northumberland County Council originally had Willmott Dixon lined up to build a new school and leisure centre in Ponteland but after 18 months of working together on the pre-construction phase, the two organisations were unable to agree a price for the main build.

In June 2018 the council retendered the contract.

Kier, or the client team, appear to have managed to shave £4m off the build cost, as the contract value is now put at £42m, rather than the £46m that Willmott Dixon had previously been talking about.

The development will be built on a 100,000 m2 plot to the immediate south of Ponteland town centre. The campus will have a 420-place primary school, a 1,600-place secondary school, and a leisure centre with a six-lane 25 ft swimming pool, a gym, climbing wall and soft play zone. There will also be a full size 3G football pitch, café, library and community fire station.  

Previous plans showed two 3G pitches, so there has been some saving there.

Construction is set to start this winter and is due for completion in summer 2020 for the start of the 2020/21 school year.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland & Northeast England, said: “We have a strong track record in delivering first-class educational and local community buildings and our aim is to create, with the client team, learning environments in which students can thrive.”

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