Turner & Townsend has completed on the University of Cambridge Primary School, which is the first university training school at primary level in the UK.
The three-form-entry school, which is part of a £1 billion urban extension to the north-west of Cambridge, combines primary education with a purpose-built research facility, and provision of teacher training. The school is sponsored by the world-famous university and governed by a separate trust.
Turner & Townsend, which started work on the £11m school in November 2014, is project manager for the first phase of the North West Cambridge Development (NWCD) – costing £330m. Alongside the school, it will include 1,475 homes and student rooms, and community facilities including a supermarket, community centre and infrastructure.
The primary school, which was partly opened in September last year for 110 reception and Key Stage One pupils, is now fully operational and will have a total enrolment of 630 children by September 2021. It is the first building in operation on the development.
The rapid delivery was ensured using the Scape Framework – an innovative procurement system combining the expertise of the public sector with the efficiency of the private sector.
The global consultancy, which is project managing eight contractors for the first phase of the NWCD, helped achieve an Excellent rating under the industry standard BREEAM scheme, showing the school’s building design excelled in every environmental category. The building’s eye-catching circular design is the brainchild of Marks Barfield Architects, which designed the London Eye. Willmott Dixon is the main contractor.
Turner & Townsend has a long track record in delivering project and cost management for the educational sector. So far the consultancy has been involved in 112 schools, half of which it is currently working on.
Robert Fraser, Senior Project Manager for Turner & Townsend, said: “This primary school has been an extremely challenging project with a very ambitious delivery programme on an iconic building.
“One of the major challenges was working within a large development with multiple contractors and dealing with the site logistics for deliveries, infrastructure works and construction. The collaborative working between the individual projects, which was managed by Turner & Townsend, ensured clear and concise organisation and co-ordination.
Gavin Heaphy, construction director of the North West Cambridge Development, said:“Our aim was to have a primary school of which the University and Cambridge could be proud, and we are exceptionally pleased with how Turner & Townsend has managed to work collaboratively with Willmott Dixon to deliver the project in a year.
“The school will provide an excellent experience for its children based on educational policies that are rooted in evidence and research. It will also provide a first-rate centre for the training of primary school teachers. Our ambition over time is to create a school that will be a beacon of excellence having both national and international influence.
“At the North West Cambridge Development we are determined to create a successful, sustainable, mixed-use community as an extension of the City, with buildings and public space of high quality design. We appreciate the many contributions that have been made to help us achieve this and we look forward to continuing to work with everyone to deliver our vision.”