A major Midlands construction project is set to get under way before the end of 2009 after St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, appointed Shepherd Construction to build the new £66 million Bournville College at Longbridge.
Representing the first phase of the £100 million town centre proposed for Longbridge North – a major milestone in the £1 billion regeneration of Longbridge – the new purpose built 250,000 sq ft Bournville College has been designed by the Birmingham office of international design practice Broadway Malyan. Consolidating the college’s existing four buildings, the flagship educational establishment will span six storeys, creating a dynamic new learning environment for more than 15,000 students in both further and higher education.
Shepherd Construction has been appointed via the Office Journal of the European Union (OJEU) procurement process to deliver the college; a move which has resulted in St. Modwen becoming the largest construction employer in Birmingham. With its workforce on site expected to reach around 350 at its peak, Shepherd Construction is now gearing up to commence an 88-week build programme at Longbridge – a timetable which has been devised to ensure the college receives its first intake of students in September 2011.
Mark Batchelor, construction manager for St. Modwen, said: “The appointment of Shepherd Construction is a key plank in the redevelopment and renewal of this key area of Birmingham, signaling that construction is set to get under way on the new Bournville College before the end of the year. Given the current economic climate, we are privileged to be in such a position; and the fact that we are now set to see major construction activity on site in the immediate future is testament to St. Modwen and Advantage West Midlands’ commitment to the future of Longbridge, and to the partnership approach we have taken over the summer with Bournville College. .Cont/d…
“Drawing on the experience of St. Modwen’s construction team and its specialist regeneration expertise, the ground clearing programme for Longbridge North was accelerated in order to assist Bournville College in securing crucial funding from the Learning & Skills Council, and to ensure the college would meet its aim of opening its doors in time for the new academic year in September 2011. Working closely with Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham City Council, and the Environment Agency, St. Modwen has successfully provided Shepherd Construction with a fully remediated site which means its team is now well placed to commence work quickly and effectively.”
As an industry-leading construction company, Shepherd has extensive experience of building schools and colleges across the country. In the Midlands specifically it recently completed Walsall College’s new Wisemore Campus, which is a key part of Walsall’s £750million regeneration programme, while work is also ongoing on a flagship new school and children’s home for the RNIB in Coventry.
Shepherd’s Birmingham-based construction director, Richard Fielding, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to deliver a first class learning facility for Birmingham. Shepherd has a track record for delivering quality colleges and schools on budget and on time – which is crucial for the education sector. Bournville College is an exciting project which will breathe new life into this area of Birmingham and we’re committed to working with everyone involved, particularly St Modwen and the college’s staff and students, throughout the building project.”
The new Bournville College will be situated off the A38 Bristol Road South, at the heart of the new 15-acre Longbridge town centre. Holder Mathias Architects was recently appointed to define its vision for this mixed-use scheme; with the initial phase likely to comprise a food store, retail units, hotel, car park, and the four acre Austin Park.
The regeneration of the former MG Rover car production plant, Longbridge is a £1 billion project spanning 468 acres by St. Modwen and joint landowner Advantage West Midlands. Over the next 15 years, the scheme is expected to create up to 10,000 new jobs and 2,000 new homes. An exemplar of sustainability, there will also be improved transport links alongside new community facilities and public space.
Norman Cave, principal of Bournville College, said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of such a prestigious construction company for what’s promising to be a landmark 21st Century education facility. We look forward to working with both Shepherds and St. Modwen in turning our vision into reality and shaping the education and training for the future of the region.”