Cardinal Newman artist impression SHA Architects-686d777a

Works underway on £3.7m expansion of Coventry secondary school

Midlands contractor G F Tomlinson is progressing with multi-million expansion works at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Coventry, for Coventry City Council.

The project involves the construction of a new dining hall and the refurbishment of existing buildings for optimised teaching spaces, which will allow for an additional 200 places at the school, in line with a government drive to provide extra student spaces in Coventry.

Procured through Pagabo’s National Framework for Medium Works, this is the first scheme G F Tomlinson has been awarded through the framework in its allocated region, which covers projects between the value of £1m-£5m in the West Midlands.

Expected for completion in summer 2021, the scheme involves the recently completed refurbishment of the DaVinci Building – including science rooms fitted with new laboratory furniture, a technology room, storage rooms and the relocation of the IT technician’s office to an adjacent space.

The main scope of works, which is the construction of a new 400-student capacity dining hall, includes a new, fully fitted catering kitchen and toilet facilities, as well as a mezzanine upper floor to be used by the school’s sixth form students, accessed via an internal floating staircase or accessible lift.

The new dining hall will overlook the existing playing field and will also feature an outdoor dining area which will consist of a new external terrace and elevated tiered seating built into an existing grass bank. Internally, there will be high-finish feature concrete columns and the ceiling will be fitted with domed roof lighting to allow natural light into the building.

The current dining halls, located in the Lindisfarne and Canterbury blocks will be refurbished and transformed into three teaching blocks and a seminar room, with a new accessible entrance formed to access the existing Teaching and Learning Centre to the rear of the blocks.

Andy Sewards, managing director of G F Tomlinson, said: “This will be the first project to be completed under Pagabo’s National Framework for Medium Works, and we are delighted to be partnering with this framework partner and Coventry City Council, to deliver the expansion works and essential refurbishment for the school, to cater to the government’s vision of providing extra student spaces in the city.

“This is a very high-quality design and build, and once complete it will bring upgraded facilities to the school, allowing optimised teaching spaces and the space for a considerable increase of student places. We look forward to handing over the project ahead of the new school year in 2021.”

Emma Hesbrook, regional relationship manager at Pagabo, added: “It’s fantastic to see work progressing well for G F Tomlinson on what is their first appointment through our Medium Works Framework. Despite the obvious challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, G F Tomlinson has continued to operate in a safe and secure manner, ensuring the school’s extension is ready for its summer 2021 opening.”

Cllr Kevin Maton, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “I’m delighted work on this excellent project is progressing well and I’m sure the pupils and staff are looking forward to its completion.

“It demonstrates that the huge capital expansion project across Coventry for schools is very much still underway. Working alongside the restrictions for COVID-19, we are collaboratively working with schools to ensure progress is maintained.”

Headteacher at Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Emma O’Connor, said: “The school is extremely pleased to be receiving this investment. The dining hall has been beautifully designed and it puts the student at the heart of the dining experience. The additional refurbishment of the laboratories and the much-needed additional classrooms will ensure that the students are able to enjoy learning in an environment they deserve. It really is an exciting time.”

G F Tomlinson is delivering the project alongside SHA Architects, ABA Consulting as civil & structural engineers and Bennett Williams, as building services consultants.