A combination of construction projects delivered by tier one contractor Morgan Sindall Construction and design consultancy Concertus has generated £12 million in social value for the Suffolk area.
This was the result of two key education developments, the expansion of Chantry Academy in Ipswich and the creation of Sir Peter Hall School, a brand new Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) school in Bury St Edmunds.
The expansion of Chantry Academy included brand new state-of-the-art Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) facilities, a new teaching block and internal refurbishment to the existing school. Opened in September 2022, this project created 150 more pupil places, including 18 SEND places.
Sir Peter Hall School was delivered by the same project team and opened its doors to local children aged nine to 16-year-olds this year. The school was designed to provide a safe space for pupils and an exciting place that the children would look forward to attending. The new school has increased SEN capacity in the county, reducing the need for placements outside Suffolk and allowing children to receive an education within their own communities.
The significant amount of social value was generated in a variety of ways, including almost 800 hours’ worth of volunteer time given up by the project teams to support important charity work and community initiatives. A clear focus on local employment and supply chain engagement was also implemented.
Furthering the skills and education of the pupils and local community was another important aspect of the ongoing work. At Chantry Academy, numerous curriculum-based activities were conducted with the learners, such as bringing pupils on to site for work experience placements and the team hosted an industrial placement student studying for his T-Levels. During the Sir Peter Hall project, a six-year partnership was signed with West Suffolk College, with lectures given on a diverse range of industry topics and students welcomed on site to learn about careers.
In addition to the education projects, Morgan Sindall and Concertus delivered Stowmarket Fire and Police Station, the latest in a programme of joint fire and police stations across Suffolk. The £3.7m station is the first new build undertaken by this blue light partnership to date and aims to reduce costs for both public services and improve collaboration between the two blue-light services. The 11 other shared stations have all involved refurbishment and extensions on existing fire station sites.
Charles Coulson, Associate Director at Concertus, said: “The success of this long reining relationship between contractor and design consultancy is reflected in the outputs that have been delivered across Suffolk between Concertus Design and Property Consultants and Morgan Sindall Construction. The two local businesses have worked together for over 15 years and have continued to create community facilities to be proud of.”
Alister Broadberry, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Eastern Counties, said: “It’s been exceptionally rewarding to work with Concertus and Suffolk County Council on these projects, as we all share the same principles and an approach that revolves around maximising value for local communities at every stage of a development. Not only will these new and expanded buildings provide vital public services, but we were able to support local businesses and boost skills, qualifications and local charity work at the same time.”
Throughout each project, Morgan Sindall and Concertus worked together to ensure each scheme was built not only to be cost effective but with sustainable features. This included incorporating high efficiency LED lightings with energy saving controls such as daylight dimming and presence detectors and creating a total of 27 electric vehicle charging points across the three sites.
Air source heat pumps were installed for both the SEND block and expansion building of Chantry Academy as well as at Stowmarket Fire and Police Station. Stowmarket Fire and Police station and Sir Peter Hall School will immediately benefit from solar panels on their new facilities, while the works on Chantry Academy include provision for future PV installation.
Innovative problem solving was a key feature of the Morgan Sindall and Concertus partnership. This was illustrated at Chantry Academy, where a key project driver was to ensure phase one was ready for the pending summer term. Given the size of the SEND block, traditional masonry wouldn’t have been viable, so a Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS) was used, accelerating the programme to enable the team to meet the term dates. The speedy system was replicated across phase two for the second block which meant the school was able to take possession during the summer holidays to move in ready for the new academic year.
All three projects with a combined value of £17.5m were delivered under the Suffolk County Council framework.