Willmott Dixon to build £29m special needs school in the UK
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Willmott Dixon gets approval for special needs school in the UK

15 Nov 2021 (Last Updated November 15th, 2021 12:03)

Set to open by September 2023, the £29m school will offer facilities for 350 pupils with special needs.

Willmott Dixon gets approval for special needs school in the UK
Illustration of Wiltshire net-zero SEND school. Credit: Willmott Dixon.

Willmott Dixon has received approval to construct a £29m net-zero carbon school in North Wiltshire in the UK.

Set to open by September 2023, the new school will be located at Silverwood School’s Rowde campus near Devizes.

It will be equipped to offer facilities for 350 pupils with special education needs or disabilities (SEND).

To support net-zero carbon operations, the new building will make use of biomass boilers. It will also feature a significant number of photovoltaic solar panels.

Willmott Dixon plans to provide its EnergySynergy service for the new school.

The EnergySynergy service provides energy performance target data against the actual ‘in-use’ energy performance for a period of three years.

This would help in ensuring that the targets on energy use outlined at the design stage are actually achieved in the operational phase.

The project will also feature ecological enhancements with an improved natural grassland and an increase in hedgerows by over 200%.

The firm plans to start enabling works to prepare the site in February 2022, with the main construction works scheduled to commence in March 2022.

Additionally, the building will comprise a community of small teaching clusters to offer a range of specialist teaching spaces, quiet dining and therapeutic support.

Designed to offer plenty of space to capture maximum daylight, as well as ventilation to give an airy feel. Each cluster will also comprise new playing fields, a hydrotherapy pool, a new all-weather sports pitch and landscaping.

Willmott Dixon Central South region managing director Richard Poulter said: “Our team have been working with all stakeholders on a building that provides those learning within its walls with a state-of-the-art facility that also adds to the surrounding community and environment.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and through our 2030 ‘Now or Never’ sustainability strategy, we have pledged that by the end of 2030 all our new buildings and major refurbishments will achieve net-zero operational carbon. Through our work at Silverwood School, we are proud to be accelerating our commitment.”

Willmott Dixon procured the contract via Southern Construction Framework (SCF).

SCF operations lead Kingsley Clarke said: “This is a great example of how the education sector is being progressive in its approach to sustainability, where operational net zero is fast becoming the norm in construction projects.

“Early engagement and collaboration between the school, Wiltshire Council and Willmott Dixon have resulted in plans for a building that is fit for the future and will create a first-class environment for the children of Silverwood School.”