New college contracts protect jobs

CONTRACTS have been awarded to construction companies for the £60m of building work on the £102m revamp of South Tyneside College.

CONTRACTS have been awarded to construction companies for the £60m of building work on the £102m revamp of South Tyneside College.

Newcastle company Surgo has won a £25m contract for the rebuilding of the Hebburn campus and Dutch firm BAM Construction has won the £35m deal to rebuild the Westoe campus. The college will be demolished and rebuilt in stages by 2012.

Surgo, which will start work on the campus next year and will soon begin consultations with the college, said they were now confident of being able to maintain a turnover of around £60m by next year.

The new development, which will be partly funded by the Learning and Skills Council, will provide a modern, cutting-edge learning environment for up to 22,000 students over two campuses, and will include everything from a construction academy to a hi-tech recording studio.

The 14,190sq metre Hebburn site will include general teaching space, engineering laboratories, workshops and a lecture theatre.

It is not the first time that the Newcastle builder has been involved in large-scale education projects, having completed the construction of the £36m Excelsior Academy college in Scotswood, Newcastle, earlier this year and is continuing its work on the £31m Bede Academy in Blyth.

Surgo director Jeff Alexander said: “We are currently involved on a number of large contracts in the education sector, and our experience in this line of work is one of the reasons why I think we have landed the job at South Tyneside College.

“Although the construction sector is still finding things pretty tough at the moment, this contract should help guarantee security for a significant portion of our workers.”

Meanwhile, BAM Construction has been awarded the remaining £35m contract to build a new 22,140 sq metre campus at the Westoe site, which will eventually feature a number of specialist facilities, including a marine simulator which puts students on the deck of a boat.

BAM, which employs 60 staff at its Gateshead offices, also has a history of education projects in the region and is currently working on two new buildings for the University of Newcastle, the £21m Student and Administrative Services building and an £18m medical services facility.

Andrew Warwick, regional construction director of BAM Construction North East Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected by South Tyneside College to deliver this prestigious project which will benefit from our extensive expertise in delivering both regional and national college projects.”

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