Ward Hadaway advises on £90m first phase of schools scheme | 08 September 08

LEADING North law firm Ward Hadaway has advised on a £90m scheme to modernise school facilities in Nottingham.

The firm, which has offices in Newcastle and Leeds, advised Nottingham City Council on its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.

This will see two new schools – a secondary school and a special school – being built with another secondary school being substantially refurbished.

Construction has started on the developments by building contractors Carillion and all three schools are expected to be open in time for the autumn 2009 term.

Ward Hadaway has been working on the scheme for more than a year and a half, advising Nottingham City Council from the instigation of the project to its recent successful financial close.

Experts from the firm’s commercial, property, construction, planning, pensions and employment teams were all involved on the scheme, which was one of the first of its kind in the country to be run under the competitive dialogue process.

This sees bidders engaging in detailed discussions with the relevant public body to ensure tailored solutions are offered in a competitive and well-informed bidding environment.

Ward Hadaway will continue to advise the council on the next phases of the scheme, the Nottingham Academies programme and primary Pathfinder initiative.

Melanie Pears, head of public sector at Ward Hadaway, said: “We were delighted to help Nottingham City Council on this scheme, which will play a key part in ensuring first-class 21st century education is provided to pupils in the city.

“Being involved from the outset ensured that we were able to work in close partnership with all parties involved in the scheme and get the best possible result for the council and the people of Nottingham.

“We also ensured that the council secured additional ‘added value’ beyond the standard BSF scheme provisions.

“A very close working relationship developed between our team and the Nottingham project director and in-house advisers to deliver a true example of partnership working.”

The plans will see a new special school (Centre of Excellence) - the Oak Field School and Specialist Sports College - built at Bilborough to accommodate up to 120 pupils.

A new secondary school for up to 730 pupils will replace the current Big Wood School in the Gedling area of Nottingham while Hadden Park High School in the Bilborough area will be redeveloped and accommodate around 800 pupils.

All the sites will have cutting-edge IT provision via provider Ramesys with a number of mobile computing devices available to students to use at school and home to enhance the educational experience and broaden the curriculum base.

Ward Hadaway is now working on further schools within this BSF scheme and two City Academy schemes for Nottingham City Council.

The firm’s public sector portfolio has totalled more than £2bn worth of projects over the past year.

* For more details on Ward Hadaway's work in the public sector, click here.