Topping out ceremony marks impressive progress at landmark school

A topping out ceremony has taken place at one of the biggest schools currently in construction in the UK to mark the progress made at the £44 million development.

Work started on site in November and is being delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction on behalf of Kenilworth Multi Academy Trust (KMAT) in Warwickshire which is working in partnership with Warwick District Council.

Representatives from the council attended the ceremony to witness at first-hand how the school is taking shape thanks to the collaborative efforts of the main contractor, Arup and pupils and teachers.

To celebrate the new school and build excitement among pupils, the main contractor organised a time capsule to be filled with items reflecting life in 2022,  including artwork, information on GCSEs and A levels, letters to future students and lateral flow tests – all to be buried in the school’s courtyard before completion.

Attention now turns to groundworks and concrete flooring which will be complete in early spring, with the school set to open to existing and new students in September 2023.

The new educational facility will see Kenilworth School & Sixth Form relocated from its two existing sites to a new facility at Southcrest Farm, Glasshouse Lane in Kenilworth.

The new three-story campus will offer 2,200 places, an increase of 440, helping to cater for the growing population in Kenilworth, a market town six miles southwest of Coventry.

The design includes extensive teaching and social provision including two floodlit all-weather pitches, natural grass pitches and hard-court areas; a dining room with “grab-and-go” options, hall and theatre, community sports and changing facilities, and a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) suite.

The main contractor was joined earlier this year by 40 undergraduate students from Nottingham Trent University who had the chance to walk round the site and learn more about the development as part of their final year live project for the quantity surveying course. A guest lecture followed to enhance the students’ learning experience.

Richard Fielding, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The topping out ceremony was the perfect opportunity to highlight the challenging work and collaboration from all on-site.

“We have worked hand-in-glove with the client to ensure we are meeting their needs and frequently communicating updates. Our team has also enjoyed working closely with the school’s green team and it’s rewarding to see young people take a real interest in protecting the wildlife and environment that surrounds their new school.

“KMAT has an existing reputation as one of the best schools in the area and we want our work to reflect this by delivering a state-of-the-art facility. Once its door are open, it will have a huge offering for pupils and teachers and the local community will also benefit from shared sports facilities.”

Executive head of Kenilworth School and Sixth Form Hayden Abbott said: “We have loved watching the new school sprout from the ground.

“An immense amount of dedication and energy has gone into the project over the past couple of years and to see it reach this stage is quite emotional. Morgan Sindall Construction has kept us abreast at every stage and has involved many of our students in aspects of the build such as energy efficiency and design features.

“We are looking forward to the next stage which will include, among other activities, burying a time capsule to be discovered by another generation of learners in the 22nd century.”

As part of its commitment to boost the local economy, a sizeable proportion of employees and supply chain are from the Kenilworth area. The scheme also builds on the contractor’s commitment to encourage young people into the industry, with an apprentice quantity surveyor working on site.

Once complete,  the community and local sports clubs will have use of new sports and leisure facilities and community groups will be able to hire the hall/theatre and other facilities at the school. The local air cadet group, 496 (Kenilworth & Balsall Common) Squadron, will also be invited to share the facilities.

Since starting the development, Morgan Sindall Construction has donated £500 worth of food to the Trussell Trust and raised more than £2,000 for new school equipment through a sponsored bike ride.

Over the past five years, Morgan Sindall Construction has created more than 65,000 student places at more than 170 schools around the UK. Once complete, KMAT will join a long list of educational facility projects built by the contractor in the Midlands, including Castleward Primary School, Ravensdale Primary School, Hackwood Primary Academy and Rosecliffe Spencer Academy.

The school is being built under the PAGABO national framework, to which Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed in 2020.