Balfour Beatty reaches financial close on BSF programme

Balfour Beatty has announced that it has reached financial close for the £450m Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton Council's Building Schools for the Future programme.

The project involves the delivery of a capital investment programme over a number of phases comprising the extensive building, remodelling and operation of nine schools in Blackburn with Darwen by 2015 and the building, remodelling and operation of 15 schools, two special educational needs schools and seven "pupil referral units" in Bolton.

In a statement on the company website today, Ian Tyler, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, said: "We are delighted to have reached financial close on this project. We look forward to utilising our previous experience, having already worked on nine major UK PPP education projects, to create new, first-class, learning environments as well as facilities that will be available to the whole community including leisure, learning, sports and ICT provision."

Balfour Beatty Education was appointed as preferred bidder for the scheme in October last year.

Balfour Beatty will invest equity of £2.6m into the 25-year Public Private Partnership concession for the delivery of the first school, Pleckgate High School, with the potential for a total of up to £20m equity investment in the programme as a whole. Construction work on Pleckgate High School is due to commence imminently.

All construction and facilities management will be carried out by Balfour Beatty. Information and Communications Technology services across all the schools will be delivered in conjunction with Northgate Managed Services.

As part of Balfour Beatty's commitment to the local community, it has pledged to target between 40% and 60% of employment on the schools' sites to local people and to engage local businesses as part of the supply chain.

Balfour Beatty will also invest in the education and skills base of the local area having launched the 'Balfour Beatty education apprenticeship' on the scheme. The project will offer over 25,650 apprenticeship weeks to local residents and employers, in addition to mentoring and work placements.

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