Bolton St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood School

Procuring Authority:Bolton Council

Academy Sponsors:The Church of England and David & Anne Crossland

Design & Build Contractor:Kier

Architect:Sheppard Robson

Project Value:£34.9m (+ £1.8m ICT)

Pupil Numbers:236 (3 – 11), 950 (11 – 18 mainstream) & 100 (SEN)

Gross Floor Area:17,202 m²

Project Type:100% new build (All-through Academy & Special School)

Completion Date:April 2012

Originally approved as a secondary age sponsored academy, the stakeholders had strong ambitions to develop an integrated scheme for a new all-through academy and a special school. Far from being a mere co-location in separate buildings on a shared site, this unique project hadintegration as a key underpinning principle from the earliest stages of development and it was one of the first all-through sponsored academies. Kerrie Norman was appointed as the PfS Project Director for the scheme in 2008. She was responsible for securing advance funding for the special school and for securing financial contributions from the local authority for the primary school element of the academy, as well aspreparing a strategic case that secured additional funding to develop a hydrotherapy pool within the buildings. This increased the scope of the original scheme from a £17m secondary only academy to a £35m campus of fully integrated provision across the whole age range. There were significant technical challenges to overcome with a 20 metre high embankment and a high voltage power line and pylons bisecting the site. A rigorous approach to the technical elements at the feasibility stage enabled the design team to develop a truly ground-breaking scheme.