Manchester City Council

Savvy work saves over a million on school revamp

A high school in Chorlton has had a major refurbishment bringing it up to the same standard as a new-build school - with a saving of over a million pounds to boot.

Loreto High School has had an £12m revamp which has transformed the external and internal appearance of the school - as well as extending the building's life by at least 30 years.

And, crucially, the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project saved £1.2 million by 'recycling' the concrete frame on the original three-storey teaching building - by stripping back the frame, treating the concrete, and then shrouding it in a new protective cladding.

The use of the new cladding, combined with the quality of the concrete will improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

The saved money was then invested in additional work on the school courtyard and in landscaping.

Councillor Afzal Khan, Executive Member for Children's Services at Manchester City Council, said: "This project is a prime example of how more can be achieved for less. Because of the expertise involved in Manchester's BSF and Academies programme, contractors were able to work around and remodel the school's existing features, while bringing in key elements of a new-build."

The project at the Catholic school, which has 650 students aged 11 to 16 and a convent, also included a  three-floor extension to the main entrance to provide a new library, which can also be used as a community facility. Internally, the buildings were reconfigured using new partitions and new heating systems and lighting have been installed.

The whole project was delivered in phases, with the majority of the teaching block completed in February 2011 and the rest of the work completed by October last year.

Outside the school, there has been extensive landscaping to create dedicated learning zones, horticultural areas, and a quiet area with a curved bench for 30 pupils.

Luke Dillon, head teacher at Loreto High School, said: "This is a new era for the school, where the excellent facilities mirror the high standards shown by both our pupils and staff. Even the building process had an educational value for students, who were able to learn about and see the techniques involved in the remodelling process. On Friday (January 27) we had a celebration Mass which brought everyone together to say thank you and mark the end of all the building work."

Cllr Khan, added: "A final, poignant feature of this project is the use of school's key values written in the pavement outside the school. You'll see the words joy, justice, freedom, truth and sincerity, which for me,  also sum up the meaning of education and the facilities we provide for our city's children."

Main contractors on the Loreto High School project were Bramall Construction and Ellis Williams Architects.