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GRAHAM wins contract to build new school for Milton Keynes’ Western Expansion Area

Author: Rob Joyce

Posted: 14 Aug 2019

GRAHAM has been appointed to build Watling Academy, a £40 million new secondary school that will serve the Western Expansion Area (WEA) of Milton Keynes and eventually create 1,800 new school places for 11-16 year olds.

Milton Keynes has grown from a collection of small towns and villages into a significant sub-regional centre in less than 40 years. The WEA is the largest of the expansion areas in Milton Keynes and covers 350 hectares west of Watling Street, between Stony Stratford, Kiln Farm, Two Mile Ash, Crownhill and Grange Farm. The WEA consists of two major new developments, Whitehouse and Fairfield, which are separated by Calverton Lane running through the middle and will serve as the catchment area for the new school. 

As part of the project, GRAHAM will build a three-storey main building with an adjacent sports hall and carry out external works to create new car and cycle parking facilities for staff and visitors, sports pitches and playing fields. GRAHAM will use BIM to manage the design and construction programme of the 10.88-hectare site.

The contract was procured through the LGSS framework, the shared services venture set up in 2010 by Cambridgeshire County Council and Northamptonshire County Council. Milton Keynes Council became the third full partner and co-owner of LGSS in 2016, which resulted in the Western Expansion scheme. The venture ranks as one of the largest of its kind.

Kath Cook, Capital Projects Manager for Milton Keynes Council, said:

“As part of its commitment to provide local services, Milton Keynes Council is funding this development and has appointed GRAHAM for the build of the Watling Academy project as part of the Whitehouse Development scheme for a new three-story Secondary school to the area.”

Rob Joyce, GRAHAM’s London office director, added:

“This new secondary school will be an important education centre for the Western Expansion Area of Milton Keynes, supporting its future development and attracting more families to the area. We will use the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from our extensive education portfolio to deliver an outstanding new facility for the local community.”

The works will be carried out over an 86-week construction programme, with completion expected in late 2020. The Denbigh Multi Academy Trust (MAT), which currently operates through Denbigh School, will operate Watling Academy to deliver the high-quality secondary education curriculum.