Award-winning Wates was granted the contract to build the Dhs65million extension in a joint venture with its UAE construction partner Al Fara’a General Contracting.
The British School Al Khubairat has a reputation as one of the leading schools in Abu Dhabi and Middle East. It was established in January 1968 on land donated by the late founder of the UAE, H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and it became formally established by Amiri decree in May 1971. The school moved to new purpose built facilities at its current location on Airport Road in 1980.
Today it teaches a British Curriculum to about 1800 pupils aged 3 to 18, including a secondary school with 850 students and a Sixth Form of over 200. Students follow GCSE and A Level and access top universities in the UK and around the world. The 12,000 square metre extension will include new sports facilities, including a new swimming pool, start-of-the-art teaching space and other important facilities.
British School Al Khubairat Principal Paul Coackley said Wates and Al Fara’a were chosen due to their combination of educational and local experience.
“We awarded the contract to Wates and Al Fara’a due to the extensive sector experience and expertise that they have building schools in the UK combined with their unparalleled local knowledge. Wates clearly have the necessary capabilities to deliver this complex project without disrupting our learning environment for students,” he said.
“We are continually looking at ways to improve the facilities for our students. This new extension is a key project to further enhance the educational environment and provide state-of-the art learning and leisure facilities at British School Al Khubairat,” added Coackley.
“For such an important project, we needed a team that we could rely on delivering first-class facilities on time, on budget with no disruption to the teaching,” he stated.
Building and demolition work, which begins on 1 July, will require a two-year programme as the extension has to be built in two phases. Wates and Al Fara’a will demolish and develop new buildings in one quarter of the site. Once completed, teaching staff and students will move into these new facilities and vacate existing older buildings, which will be demolished to make way for new modern facilities.
Wates has a strong track record in delivering complex school and college educational facilities. It is one of the leading developers in the education sector in the UK and has built schools and colleges to accommodate 35,000 pupils, including Canterbury College and North Liverpool Academy. It is currently running the day-to-day operations of 26 UK schools.
“From our experience, we have gained a clear understanding of the complex logistics involved in delivering high quality, technically challenging education establishments. We intend to draw on this experience to the specific benefit of the British School Al Khubairat,” says Steve Yazdabadi, director of Wates Construction International.
“In the last five years we have worked on countless ‘live projects’ where we have developed educational buildings while teaching continues. I am proud to say that we have not lost one hour of teaching time. We understand that a child’s education comes first and if a child loses one hour of learning due to any disruption caused during building or refurbishment, then it can never be replaced,” he concluded.
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