Work begins on new £8m school for Central Lancaster

Plans for the new building

Collinson Construction has begun work on an £8m school building at the 750-pupil Central Lancaster High School.

The Preston-based firm is building a new science and technology block for the school, with work to demolish four existing buildings at the Crag Road school – originally built in 1966 – now under way.

Once complete, the new building will feature five state-of-the-art science laboratories, and new facilities and workshops for design technology and a food technology kitchen. The works will be followed by a second phase later in the year which will add an additional 11 classrooms.

A new central courtyard will be developed between the new and existing buildings, opening up a central green space for pupils to meet with their friends.

Collinson Construction is acting as main contractor for the scheme, with the firm’s modular division building the new science and technology block using modern methods of construction.

This means it can be built at Collinson Construction’s own factory, offsite in Catterall, before being assembled on the school grounds once ready later in the year. The modular construction method means the building can be completed quicker with less disruption for neighbours on Crag Road.

Robert Duxbury, managing director of Collinson Construction, said: “We’re investing heavily into our own modular manufacturing factory in Lancashire, including new state-of-the-art equipment, which, coupled with our modular expertise and inhouse design and manufacturing facilities, has allowed the majority of the construction phase to be completed in our factory, with the final fit-out works being completed on site – meaning minimal disruption to the wider school.”

Funding has been secured for the new school buildings thanks to a number of successful bids from The Bay Learning Trust to the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund with the support of Stratus9. Consulting.

It is hoped the school will be open to pupils in January, with the second phase set to complete in September 2023.

John Cowper, principal at Central Lancaster High School, said: “This new state-of-the-art school will be transformational for the education we are able to deliver to the young people of Lancaster.

“Our pupils deserve excellent facilities and the new school will bring a completely new look to the area. Alongside good quality teaching, these facilities will help students receive the best possible education so that they can flourish and go on to achieve at the highest level.”

Sally Kenyon, chief executive of The Bay Learning Trust, said: “We aim to provide excellent facilities for all the pupils in our schools. Central Lancaster High School is a very close-knit community and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure the funding to build the school that pupils and staff deserve. It will be a great addition to the Bay Learning Trust community of schools.”

The construction forms part of a range of upgrades to facilities across the family of schools managed by The Bay Learning Trust in the Lancaster and Morecambe Bay area, including new science laboratories at Morecambe Bay Academy, along with fire safety and energy improvements at Carnforth High School and Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy.

In total, more than £20m has been invested in schools across The Bay Learning Trust community of schools since 2018.

Central Lancaster High School is one of the four schools managed by The Bay Learning Trust, a community of schools in the Lancaster and Morecambe Bay area and the only local, multi academy trust.

Other schools managed by The Bay Learning Trust include Morecambe Bay Academy, Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy and Carnforth High School.