New £9.2m Nottinghamshire school celebrates topping out

Millside Spencer Academy in Nottinghamshire.

A topping out ceremony has marked a major milestone at a new £9.2m school in Nottinghamshire which will create vital school places for a village. 

Millside Spencer Academy in East Leake will provide 350 primary and 26 nursery places in the heart of the new David Wilson Homes housing development, The Skylarks.

Delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction and designed, cost-managed and project managed by Arc Partnership, a joint venture between SCAPE and Nottinghamshire County Council, the school is taking shape.

Morgan Sindall has completed works to level the ground, followed by the installation of foundations and the erection of the steel frame. The first-floor planks, windows, doors and internal partitioning have now been fitted and the contractor is now turning its attention to the mechanical and electrical fixtures and external bricklaying and rendering. 

The new school, which will be run by Spencer Academies Trust and is located on former farmland on Rempstone Road, is part of a £14m investment in education in East Leake, by Nottinghamshire County Council. The two-storey building includes eight classrooms, a nursery, a library, a food-tech room, a hall and dance studio.  

Principal Sophia Thorne at the Spencer Academies Trust said: "The Millside Spencer community is amazed at the speed our new school building is progressing. These facilities - alongside our existing on-site Forest School area, dedicated staff team, supportive parents and inspirational children - will continue to make Millside Spencer a happy school where everyone can shine." 

Over 60 pupils have already had a glimpse of life at Millside Spencer Academy thanks to a Temporary Learning Village, installed by the main contractor. Once the school is handed over, the cabins will be removed and used elsewhere to make way for the delivery of a new school field which will complement existing outdoor play areas. 

Richard Fielding, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “We are delivering a school which will not only create vital pupil places, but also inspiring and modern learning environments which is integral to children’s learning. We will continue to engage with the local community through our social value initiatives and work towards our net zero goals as we near completion this summer.” 

Morgan Sindall was appointed by Arc Partnership to deliver Millside Spencer Academy. The school builds on an existing strong relationship between the contractor and Arc Partnership after the successful joint delivery of Bingham Primary School in August 2022 and Rosecliffe Spencer Academy in May 2021.  

The academy is also the fourth school which Morgan Sindall has delivered for the Spencer’s Trust, following Castleward, Highfields and Rosecliffe academies. 

Sara Williams, head of pre-construction at Arc Partnership, said: “Supporting the council’s move toward low carbon solutions, the school has been designed to be net carbon zero in operation. It will have high levels of building fabric insulation, and a range of sustainable features including an all-electric strategy, meaning no fossil fuel will be burnt on site and as the National Grid decarbonises, the carbon emissions associated with the building will reduce.”  

As part of Morgan Sindall’s Intelligent Solutions approach, the project has used BIM (Level 2) during the design and delivery stages to provide clash detection benefits and greater programme certainty. The approach has also been adopted to achieve its net zero goals, modular builds were used for the construction of the TLV, which involves creating the property offsite in a factory and produces 45% less carbon than traditional methods.   

Through its social value initiatives, the company has organised several school tours and university visits for undergraduate quantity surveyors from Nottingham Trent University. They have also collected for local food banks and helped the school with the set-up of its forest school. Ukrainian refugees have also found employment on site through social enterprises Recycling Lives and Radiant Cleaners. 

A further commitment for the contractor is its local spend with subcontractors within 20 miles, and its target of 30% has already been exceeded.

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