Essex SEN school celebrates official ‘topping out’ milestone

Morgan Sindall Construction marks key point in £4.3m renovation of Cedar Hall.

A £4.3m school for children with special educational needs in Essex has celebrated a key stage in its renovation and extension.

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex business was appointed earlier in the year to deliver the project, which will see the Cedar Hall’s teaching facilities expanded to accommodate an additional 80 students.

Scheduled to be ready for the September 2023 term, the new development includes a two-storey main building complete with admin space, five classrooms, art room, library, and a vehicle maintenance workshop to support the current curriculum. 

Cedar Hall school works with children aged five to 16 with moderate learning difficulties and additional needs. The design of the new spaces has been tailored to suit the needs of its students, including design features such as blocking corridors to soften the noise created by air vents. 

Andy Harper-Rowe, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in Essex, said: “Recent projections have highlighted the urgent demand for more SEN facilities across the country that are tailored to the needs of their pupils. We are delighted to be delivering this high quality, sustainable expansion to Cedar Hall, that has been built with students front of mind.  

“It has been a pleasure to work closely with Essex County Council and to gather together with so many of the project’s stakeholders to celebrate this key milestone and look forward to the benefits that this development will provide for the local community upon its completion.”  

The ‘topping out’ ceremony, which was attended by Rebecca Harris MP, Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex area director Andy Harper-Rowe and key public officials from Essex County Council including Cllr Tony Ball, Cllr Beverly Egan, and Cllr Andrew Sheldon, was held on the roof of the new building alongside the school’s recently installed photovoltaic (PV) panels. Attendees signed the panelling on the ground floor of the development to mark the occasion.  

Procured through Essex County Council’s Construction Framework 2 (ECF2), the project is being delivered in partnership with design and property consultants Concertus. ECF2 is a local government programme designed to rejuvenate elements of the local area to meet modern requirements, such as a growing demand for SEN facilities. 

As part of Morgan Sindall’s Intelligent Solutions approach, modern methods of construction (MMC) are being used throughout the project. This includes the use of Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs) as a key aspect of the new two-storey building’s construction. 

Cedar Hall SEN school is set to achieve an EPC rating of A*. An energy efficient building fabric, PV panels on the roof and an air source heating system will help the school achieve its sustainability goals. 

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, said: “I was very impressed with the design and quality of the build so far. I was pleased to see that the new block was designed to be carbon neutral in operation, and the solar panels on the roof will help the school cut its future energy bills. I am looking forward to coming back when it is complete after the summer holidays and seeing the brand-new classrooms and facilities in use.” 

Cllr Tony Ball, Essex County Council cabinet member for education excellence, lifelong learning and employability, said: “Ensuring that every child in Essex has access to an excellent education is at the heart of our Everyone’s Essex strategy, as well as being at the forefront of our vision for levelling up the county.”

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