Eric Wright completes £22.8m catholic college project

A multi-million pound project to redevelop St Mary’s Catholic College and Christ the King Catholic Primary School in Blackpool is complete.

Eric Wright St MarysUndertaken by Eric Wright Construction, a division of the Eric Wright Group, the multi-phase project, which started in November 2010, saw the Preston-based firm demolish parts of the college whilst retaining the iconic Victorian front seen from St. Walburga’s Road.

The existing school has been sensitively refurbished to establish a 1,220 place secondary school, Sixth Form Centre and a brand new 210 place primary school. This extensive scheme also saw the building of a new Parish Church for Christ the King as a calm and reflective place of worship.

Returning this week, pupils and students will have access to new and modern facilities, including cutting-edge science and computer labs, 40 contemporary classrooms, a fitness gym and a new school hall, dining hall and staff facilities.

The sixth form learning centre offers ultra-modern facilities with the introduction of a communal area with quiet spaces for study alongside a separate learning resource centre.

Designed and commissioned by Nightingale Associates under the Blackpool Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital Programmes, the scheme amalgamated both primary and secondary facilities within a single footprint.

The schools have been created with innovation and technology in mind, with new buildings featuring light and spacious classrooms, each decorated with fun vibrant colours to provide a creative and inspirational learning environment.

St Mary’s Catholic College and Christ the King Catholic Primary School have high hopes to raise the standard of education across Blackpool and Fylde, boosting the area’s economic prosperity and creating opportunities for young people in the future.

The final phase of the project involved moving Christ the King Catholic Primary School and Christ the King Parish Church onto the site.

John Wilson, managing director of Eric Wright Construction said: “We are very proud to have been involved in this multi-phase project which will change the face of primary, secondary and further education in the area.

“This scheme also provided us with a platform to provide employment opportunities for budding builders thanks to the Apprenticeship Training Association which saw us, our supply chain and subcontractors recruit apprentices to work on the project.

“St Mary’s Catholic College is a great example of what can be achieved with many parties working closely together and we’re delighted to have finished the programme of works by the estimated deadline.”

Stephen Tierney, executive headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic College and Christ the King Catholic Primary School, said: “This outstanding partnership of the schools, Blackpool Council and Eric Wright has helped establish a beacon of excellence on the top of Layton Hill.

“The secondary students and Sixth Form are already benefitting from the new building. I know the primary children and staff will be so excited when they move into their new buildings in September. The future looks bright for both schools.”

Carl Baker, assistant director of children’s services at Blackpool Council, added: “The school together with the Local Authority are extremely pleased and fortunate to have been granted approval of this new building by the Department for Education under the Building Schools for the Future Programme back in 2010.

“It has been a long journey, but one which will provide the young people and staff with an exceptional environment for their future learning and work.

“We are delighted with the new school and the pupils and staff are now eager to take up full occupation this September. “The project team, from the Architects at IBI Nightingale’s to the Constructor’s at Eric Wright Construction have worked incredibly hard over the last four years to deliver this outstanding school campus. It has been a very successful project and one which could only be delivered through a collaborative approach and a positive team ethos; it is a credit all those involved.”