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Work Starts On Pioneering New School For Rugby

Author: Matthew Deaves Published: 3rd February 2012 15:44

Construction Work Has Begun On New Sunesis School In Rugby.

The first Sunesis School in the UK will be built in Rugby, with construction work starting this week (w/c 23rd January 2012).

Scape, the local authority controlled company at the forefront of driving down UK public sector building procurement costs, and Warwickshire County Council have today announced the start of works.

Sunesis is a joint initiative between Scape and construction partner Willmott Dixon which delivers standard whole building designs at a fixed price. The initiative was launched last year to meet the Government's ‘more for less' agenda, and will reduce the cost of new primary or secondary school by up to 30 per cent.

Warwickshire County Council has approved the tailor made Sunesis concept to replace the Infant/Foundation stage of Oakfield Primary School, which was built in the 1950s and is now over capacity. A £2.2m new standardised design called Keynes has been purchased, and will be installed over the coming months. The fast track construction programme is due for completion by the new academic year this September. Flexibility in the design means that optional extras, such as an internal sliding wall, play equipment, furniture and a canopy, can be incorporated as needed.

Mark Robinson, Chief Executive of Scape, said: "Cost certainty in the current climate is critical for local authorities as budgets are being cut and more needs to be delivered for less. That's where Scape really adds value - quite literally. Through Sunesis, we're enabling our clients to cut out a huge amount of waste so that projects can be procured and delivered very quickly, at an extremely competitive price."

Estimates indicate that since the scheme's inception last July to completion later this year, 26 weeks will be saved in the overall programme, compared to the traditional approach of designing a bespoke school and tendering for a contractor.

According to Councillor Colin Hayfield, Portfolio Holder for Customers, Access and Physical Assets at Warwickshire County Council, the speed of delivery and cost effectiveness were the main benefits of using Scape. He said: "Through Sunesis, we've been able to cut out fees associated with legal issues, feasibility studies, design and time spent at planning and procurement meetings. We could therefore afford a new additional building, rather than a small extension. There's no other comparable product that can deliver a fully designed school to meet the fast track programme we need."

Headteacher Heather Fielding added: "From the beginning of this project, the Scape and Willmott Dixon team have listened to our needs and ideas, before thoughtfully adapting these into a design that accommodates the particular challenges of our site. We've been very impressed by their enthusiasm, high level of organisation, planning and ability to focus successfully on the solution rather than the problem."

Within the full Sunesis range, there are three other standardised school designs (Newton, Paxton and Dewey) aimed at primary schools that sit alongside Keynes. One model called Mondrian is available to secondary schools. These can be viewed on www.sunesis-build.co.uk along with details of standard prices, optional extras and green design features aimed at reducing running costs.

Peter Owen, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands and Sector Leader for education said: "This is a tremendous moment in the delivery of a new generation of efficient schools that provide an excellent learning environment but at significantly lower cost. This is about Willmott Dixon and Scape providing a real solution to councils who want their budgets, already under much pressure, to go even further for what they spend."

Oakfield Primary School is the first Sunesis project to go live, and several other councils have approached Scape to express their interest in using the model. Sunesis is available to public sector clients via Scape's National Contractor Framework, to which Willmott Dixon was re-appointed in 2010 as the sole contractor to deliver the Framework following a competitive tender process.

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