Wates hands over Gibside SEN School for Gateshead Council

Gibside SEN School, SEN school

Wates Construction has completed its first project for Gateshead Council with the delivery of a new £12m school for children with special educational needs (SEN)

The new Gibside SEN School saw Wates complete all construction services, including structural, M&E and landscape design.

Its innovative design was created by local Gateshead architect Julia Soulsby, and features a single-story structure with a complex roof across 10 different levels, using four different roof types.

Comprising of 21 different classrooms, a hydrotherapy pool, sports hall, dining and assembly hall, an internal courtyard and sensory rooms.

The Gibside project marks the first completion in a number of primary schools currently being delivered by Wates, including one in Huddersfield and a further five in the North West, which are all using modern methods of construction (MMC) extensively through their builds.

Delivering social value is a priority

The project was procured through SCAPE Construction, a direct award framework designed by the procurement authority to drive collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings on construction projects.

Wates provided 22 work experience weeks, spent £71k with Social Enterprises, ensured 89% of labour was from within a 40-mile radius and provided employability workshops for 224 local people.

Wates held an employability and training event at HMP Northumberland for 11 prisoners due for release within the following six months.

All were located within 10 miles of the Gibside site, giving them vital skills to build a career upon release, with one ex-offender subsequently given a position with Wates.

A genuine one-team approach

David Wingfield, business unit director of Wates Construction in Yorkshire & North East, said: “This project’s success is not only limited to the building, but in the way it has maximised its benefit to the community.

“The council made it clear this build should provide as many training and employment opportunities as possible.

“Whether through apprenticeships, career events, supporting local supply chains or social enterprises, we have continuously tried to make sure our work is leaving a positive lasting legacy for Gateshead.

“At the heart of this success was a genuine one-team approach between ourselves, the client’s in-house design and delivery teams and the supply chain where there was meaningful early collaboration from pre-construction right through to completion.

“It is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together and I want to sincerely thank all who made it possible.”

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, added: “The new school will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of SEN children and their families right across the Gateshead community.

“Not only has the project been delivered on time and within budget, but the commitment to maximising social value will ensure that the school leaves a lasting legacy for the local area – a true testament to the project teams at Wates and Gateshead Council.”


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