Chetham’s picks McAlpine for school project

Michael Hunt

Chetham's School of Music has appointed Sir Robert McAlpine as lead contractor for the first phase of development of its new school and visitor attraction in Manchester.

The contract is worth £22.5m and work will start on site at the end of the month.

The new Stephenson Bell-designed building will total 100,000 sq ft bounded by Hunts Bank, Walkers Croft and Victoria Station Approach.

Drivers Jonas Deloitte is project managing the building of the new school and Chetham's is being advised throughout the development programme by Michael Oglesby from commercial property developer Bruntwood.

Oglesby, who has led the project for the school since its conception and is a trustee of Chetham's Hospital School and Library, said: "Chetham's is undoubtedly one of the finest Music Schools in the world, and the New School Building will provide students and staff with a facility which benefits this status."

The new building is the first piece of the jigsaw for proposals towards making the Medieval Quarter and Northern Gateway of the city more accessible to the general public.

Chetham's said Network Rail's plans for the transformation of Victoria Station are believed to include the school as a key element while The Co-operative Group's plans to transform 20-acres, close to Chetham's, followed the school's lead.

Claire Hickman, head of Chetham's, added: "This is a very exciting time for Chetham's, these works signal the beginning of a new era for the School. The investment in the buildings will not only provide the best facilities for our students and staff to grow and learn, but they will also provide our partners with greater opportunities to work with us."

Once the new school building is complete, the latter phases of Chetham's masterplan will begin. This will include the refurbishment and conversion works to the existing Millgate and Nicholls buildings; these buildings which currently house the existing classrooms will be transformed into suitable accommodation for the students. Additional refurbishment to the boys' dormitory and current performance venue in Whiteley Hall will be undertaken.

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