Ward Hadaway helps school project get off the ground | 05 October 10

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has played a significant part in delivering a school building project despite Government cutbacks and policy changes.

The £12.4m remodel of Dyke House Sports and Technology College in Hartlepool is now under way after getting the final go-ahead from the Department of Education.

The Government axed the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which aimed to refurbish or renew all secondary school buildings across England and Wales, in July 2010.

However, along with 11 other projects across the country which were significantly well developed but had not yet reached ’financial close’ , the BSF plans for Dyke House were put under review rather than being scrapped.

Hartlepool Borough Council then had to provide information and evidence about the Dyke House project to the Government to demonstrate that the project should go ahead.

Ward Hadaway, which provided legal advice to the council throughout the BSF programme, advised the council on potential procurement issues arising as a result of the withdrawal of the funding for the project and on the status of a contract with an ICT provider that the authority had already agreed for its entire BSF scheme.

The Government decided to allow the Dyke House scheme to go ahead and building work has now started at the site on Mapleton Road in Hartlepool by construction company Balfour Beatty.

Once completed in January 2012, the remodelled school will have new and flexible learning spaces and a greatly improved educational environment supported by a bespoke ICT solution for its 1,100 pupils, aged 11 to 18.

Other advisers on the Dyke House scheme included Gleeds, who provided technical advice, financial advisors BDO and client design manager GWK Architects.

Melanie Pears, partner and head of public sector at Ward Hadaway, said: “It is a great relief to hear that the Dyke House scheme has got final approval to go ahead since everyone involved in the scheme has worked so hard to make it a reality.

“Securing this final approval was very much a team effort from all the parties involved who were all totally committed to making the project work and to the improvements in educational outcomes which are now likely to be achieved at the school.

“It is excellent news that this scheme is going ahead, although it is disappointing that improvement plans for other schools in the Hartlepool area have not gone ahead.”

Councillor Cath Hill, Hartlepool Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Everyone involved worked extremely hard to convince the Government that the funding should be made available for this project and it is wonderful news that it has been allowed to continue.

“This investment will totally transform Dyke House School, creating a vibrant and exciting place in which young people can learn and socialise in welcoming, state-of-the-art surroundings.”

Ward Hadaway has previously worked on a range of BSF projects, including one that won a national award.

The Nottingham BSF scheme, on which Ward Hadaway advised Nottingham City Council, won the Best Education Project award in the Public: Private Finance Awards 2010.

In total, the firm has worked on almost £700m worth of BSF projects across the country.

* Find out more about our Public Sector services.