Wide-Ranging Education Expertise Benefits Skelton Scheme

Dale Potts
Drawing upon its wide-ranging expertise in the education sector, the North East region of Faithful+Gould has successfully reached the completion of an Adult Learning Centre in Skelton, North Yorkshire.

Faithful+Gould was appointed by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, on behalf of its Adult Learning Service, to undertake pre- and post-contractual quantity surveying services for the Centre in February 2007. Redcar and Cleveland Adult Learning Service had successfully bid to the Learning and Skills Council Capital Challenge Fund to finance this project. The Adult Learning Service offers a wide range of life long learning opportunities for people of all abilities and levels of achievement, at an affordable cost and in accessible, safe locations.

The project comprised the alteration of existing classrooms and the garage adjacent to Skelton Youth and Community Centre. The building includes a new reception area, disabled access, re-alignment of changing facilities, new utility services and work to the existing heating system.

Faithful+Gould’s pre-contractual remit included advising on an appropriate form of procurement, and producing an activity schedule and tender appraisal, with post-contractual services including interim payments, cost reporting and agreeing the final account.

Gary Marshall, regional director of Faithful+Gould, said:

"We have a great deal of capability of providing quantity surveying services on a diversity of projects and having recently worked on a number of very large schemes I have welcomed the opportunity to be part of a scheme which will have such a positive impact on it s local community.

"As is the case for many smaller scale projects, the budget was particularly tight, therefore our team was keen to manage it very carefully as well as sourcing best value solutions throughout the scheme’s lifespan.

"Over the past 10 years, our team has gained significant experience on an unusually wide range of education projects from multi-million pound academies to much smaller schemes that have a tangible effect on the communities in which they are situated."

An aromatherapy course in action at the Adult Learning Centre

The centre has a projected footfall of up to 400 people a week and a regular team of 12 visiting tutors. It provides adult and community learning in functional skills which include part time courses in a wide range of subjects, including arts, crafts, cookery, modern languages, ICT, English, maths, navigation, health and wellbeing, sports, sign language and history.

John Harris from the Redcar and Cleveland Adult Learning Services, said:

"We are delighted with our new facility. The majority of its users will be adults over 19, with an expected user breakdown to be 40 per cent over 60, 70 per cent female and 2 per cent Black and Minority Ethnic users from all walks of life and social class. However, up to 20 per cent of centre usage will be younger people in family learning groups, including some Entry 2 Employment students undertaking cookery courses. Community groups will also be able to use the centre to hold public meetings as well as it being used as a location for local authority staff development."

Faithful+Gould is renowned within the UK for its broad portfolio of education-related schemes, including:

  • The multi-million pound flagship Excelsior Academy scheme, which is located in a prime regeneration area of Newcastle upon Tyne and will replace the existing West Gate Community College (which will close in summer 2008). With 1800 places, Excelsior Academy has been designed on the principle of having schools within a school, the pupils aged between 11 and 16 will be educated in four schools, with additional provision being made for post-16s.
  • Catalyst Higher Education’s £160 million Private Finance Initiative project to build and manage a student village for the University of Sheffield.
  • A project to significantly improve the sporting facilities at Thornhill School Business & Enterprise College in Sunderland, which saw a 730m² new sports hall built on the school’s central city site. This new sporting provision created a much needed indoor sporting facility for both the school and the local community.