Willmott Dixon’s close collaboration with Liverpool City Council to renew secondary schools has seen it appointed to build a new home Archbishop Blanch Secondary School in a contract worth £16 million.

A CGI of Archbishop Blanch Secondary School

It’s the third secondary school project in the last two years for the company following Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, which opened in September 2013, and Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College, which opens this September.

With construction work at Archbishop Blanch Secondary School in Smithdown Road starting imminently, Willmott Dixon is working with architect Sheppard Robson to create the new 10,500m2, three storey school, to replace Archbishop Blanch’s current building. Procured through Scape, the facility will include a synthetic sports pitch and opens in September 2015.

Archbishop Blanch will follow the same internal layout of the previous two schools in that classrooms are visible from several points - the whole school can be seen from one particular point – and there are no corridors. There is also solar-paneled roof to generate electricity, a theatre and recording and dance studios.

The entrance

The project QS is 2020 Liverpool, a Liverpool company that reflects Willmott Dixon’s strong ethos to use local companies whenever possible to create economic benefits and sustain jobs in the city. Willmott Dixon’s North West manager director Anthony Dillon explains, “A key focus for us is the number of Liverpool firms and people we get involved, especially since the projects are funded by local taxpayers.”

“We have set a demanding but achievable target of having a 70% local workforce as it’s about strengthening the local economy as well as creating modern learning environments for pupils to reach their full potential.”

Examples of local firms benefiting from the previous two schools include D Morgan, the demolition contractor, who helped save £20,000 on recycling costs at Notre Dame, plus A&B Engineering, an M&E company located four miles from the city centre. Another local firm, Cull Dry Lining, carried out plastering on both Notre Dame and Archbishop Beck schools.

Anthony explains, “We also gave experience to dozens of apprentices at Notre Dame and Archbishop Beck, and worked with Liverpool John Moores University to recruit management trainees for our business. We will continue this focus on contributing to the local economy at Archbishop Blanch.”

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, said: "The new Archbishop Blanch High School is a really exciting scheme which is desperately needed as the school's present building needs major investment and updating. This scheme is part of our vision to make sure all our pupils are taught in high quality and flexible buildings to help ensure they receive the very best education.

“We continue to set high targets for all our schemes for Liverpool employment, businesses and supply chains and so are delighted at Willmott Dixon's continuing commitment to creating apprenticeships and making sure local Liverpool firms benefit from this construction work. Archbishop Blanch High School has had to wait a very long time for this, so I'm delighted that their dreams are finally becoming a reality.”

The sports hal