Midlands-based contractor G F Tomlinson has completed the expansion and refurbishment of Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Coventry, for Coventry City Council.

The completion of the project was marked with an official ‘ribbon cutting’ ceremony last month, with G F Tomlinson’s managing director, Chris Flint, the school’s headteacher Emma O’Connor in attendance, alongside representatives from Seymour Harris Architects and Coventry City Council.

The occasion was celebrated with a number of short speeches from stakeholders, a vote of thanks and a blessing of the newly refurbished school by school Chaplain Fr Pat Brennan and Canon Tom Farrell.

The project led by G F Tomlinson, comprised of the construction of a new dining hall and the refurbishment and remodelling of existing classroom and dining spaces to create optimised teaching facilities which will allow for an additional 200 places at the school – in line with the government’s drive to provide extra student spaces in Coventry.

Procured through Pagabo’s National Framework for Medium Works, this was the first scheme G F Tomlinson had been awarded through the framework in its allocated region, which covers projects between the value of £1m-£5m in the West Midlands. 

The main scope of works was the construction of a new 400-student capacity dining hall, which included a new, fully fitted catering kitchen and toilet facilities, as well as a mezzanine upper floor to be used by the school’s sixth form students, accessed via an internal floating staircase or accessible lift.

The current dining halls, located in the Lindisfarne and Canterbury blocks have been transformed into three teaching blocks and a seminar room, with a new accessible entrance formed to access the existing Teaching and Learning Centre to the rear of the blocks.

The new dining hall overlooks the existing playing field and features an outdoor dining area which includes a new external terrace with elevated tiered seating built into an existing grass bank.

Chris Flint, managing director of G F Tomlinson, said: “This was the first project to be completed under Pagabo’s National Framework for Medium Works, alongside Coventry City Council and we could not be more pleased with the result. 

“The school has undergone significant change, replacing existing buildings with brand new, optimised teaching spaces and facilities. The newly completed dining hall is a great addition – and showcases the quality of the design and build. These important changes to the school will maximise the space and have a positive impact on the overall experience of both the pupils and the staff. We look forward to partnering on similar projects in the future.”

Emma Hesbrook, regional relationship manager at Pagabo, added: “I’m so pleased to see G F Tomlinson reach completion on this project that is set to hugely benefit the local area. Coventry City Council compliantly procured the works through our Medium Works Framework back in September 2020.

“They opted for a further competition process which provided the competition they needed to ensure that they received the best value for their spend. I visited the site recently and was delighted to see such a great finished build.

Cllr Kevin Maton, cabinet member for education and skills at Coventry City Council, said: “I’m delighted to see work on this excellent project come to its completion and I’m sure the pupils and staff at Cardinal Newman are very excited to enjoy these new facilities.

“It’s fantastic to see such great transformations that will no doubt create a much-improved environment to learn in. I want to thank all of those involved for working so well together during such a challenging time to fulfil these important new changes and make a wonderful new environment for all of those in the school community.”

Headteacher at Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Emma O’Connor, said: “We are delighted with the building. It is the first time in the school’s history that we have had a venue that houses all the students at social time.  It has brought our school community together so that we can share and give thanks at lunch and break times. 

“The design and high standards from both architects and the contractors has resulted in an awe-inspiring building. Our students and staff thoroughly enjoy the dining experience.

“We are hugely grateful to all those involved, the local authority, Seymour Harris and G F Tomlinson for ensuring that we have both a functional and beautiful building.”

G F Tomlinson delivered the project alongside Seymour Harris Architects, ABA Consulting as civil and structural engineers and Bennett Williams, as building services consultants.