Balfour Beatty to begin Bolton/Blackburn schools in New Year

Balfour Beatty Education is expected to agree terms and move on site in January for the £450m Building Schools for the Future contract after being named as the preferred bidder.

Balfour beat the BDB Learning Partnership, consisting of Laing O'Rourke and John Laing, to win the lucrative 25-year concession. Catalyst Lend Lease was knocked out in an earlier round.

The contractor will build or remodel nine schools across Blackburn with Darwen in a single phase and 15 schools in Bolton through three phases. ICT firm Northgate will form part of the consortium to provide technology for the schools in the programme.

Work is due to start at Pleckgate in January 2010 and at Darwen Vale in September 2010. The schools will be rebuilt or extensively remodelled to provide state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities and will be open for community use.

Balfour Beatty has nine existing concessions in the education sector, three under the Building Schools for the Future programme at Southwark, Islington and Knowsley, five under previous public-private partnership models at Stoke, Bassetlaw, Rotherham, Birmingham and North Lanarkshire and one in Singapore, the Institute of Technical Education, College West.

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