Manchester’s newest school, Chorlton High School South, has appointed the region’s best known builders to create its new teaching facilities.

BAM Construction, one of the largest contractors in Europe and one of the longest established in the UK, has been appointed following a competitive tender process led by the Department for Education, under its capital framework for schools in England.

BAM’s recent track record in Manchester’s education story is writ large: within the past three years it has delivered three new schools at Cheadle Hulme, Didsbury and (under construction now) Laurus Ryecroft.

It is now appointed to develop the current plot on Mauldeth Road West which is partly occupied by Greater Manchester Police dog unit and horse paddocks. Design has been led by Pozzoni Architects which also has a long track record in the education sector.

Ewan Bell, BAM’s Project Manager, says:

“Our first task is creating a new set of facilities for the police to migrate their units to, and then to begin the school programme in earnest.

“We’re greatly assisted in this by being able to conduct our own groundworks, drainage, and foundations – which are critical to this phase.

“We’ve also imported all the experience from creating these other schools within our team so it is perfectly placed to deliver outstanding facilities for the area.”

The new facilities will ultimately house 1200 students in their three-storey ‘superblock’ school, which will also have a two-storey Sport England specified sports hall.

BAM will also deliver its own M&E (mechanical and electrical) works. The plan is for facilities to be handed over in time for the opening date of the new academic year, 2021. BAM’s early works, being external, have made social distancing in the current pandemic conditions much easier than it would be at later stages, and the handover plans currently remain unchanged.

The site team have had to adapt to the new situation, some working from home whilst the remaining site team has taken on additional responsibility. A series of changes to the sequence have helped BAM to stay on programme and the team remains in close contact with the DfE.

Before social distancing was introduced the team made a positive start by planting 180 trees together with 27 volunteers including 11 from BAM. They worked so efficiently that the trees had all been planted by 10.30 in the morning, much to the surprise of the Friends of Chorlton Park. The planting volunteers were from BDP (building services, civil engineering and structure design consultants), WYG (planning consultants), Nexus Associates (ICT partner) and The Environment Partnership (ecology consultants).

Elsewhere in Manchester, BAM is behind ASK Development’s 100 Embankment giant office building, where it installed the recent Ghandi statue as a gesture of goodwill, plus the RHS’s new Wellcome building with its landscaped lake and facilities.

BAM’s work in Manchester stems back to the 1940s when it built for Rover in Clitheroe. Its first education schemes in the city were for the University of Salford in the 1970s, a field in which it now a market leader. In recent times it has been behind many leisure centres, hospitals, industrial and airport schemes too among others. Its best known schemes since 2000 include the HQ for the Co-Operative Group, the National Graphene Centre, and Spinningfields.