Balfour Beatty lands £50m Lothian school-building contract

CGI of the schools’ entrance

East Lothian Council has appointed Hub South East to deliver new primary schools at Craighall and Blindwells, East Lothian’s newest town.

Hub South East was originally appointed for the design and development phase of the project and has now been confirmed to take the project forward through construction to completion

Balfour Beatty has been appointed as main contractor for the projects. Construction is due to begin in February 2024 for completion in late spring 2025. JM Architects has designed the buildings. Combined project costs for the two schools are estimated at £49.6m.

The primary schools are required to meet demand from ongoing and planned housing developments in the greater Edinburgh area. Permission has been granted for 1,600 homes at Blindwells as part of a new town development, while the East Lothian local development plan allocates land at Craighall for a mixed-use development including 1,500 homes, around 41 hectares of employment land, a new local centre and a primary school to the north of Old Craighall village.

Each school will provide space for up to 420 pupils plus 100 nursery places for 2-5 year olds.

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, East Lothian cabinet member for education and children’s and family services, said: “I am pleased to confirm that we will be working with Hub South East on the next stages for Craighall and Blindwells Primary Schools through to completion.

“We have an established and positive working relationship with Hub South East. This has brought benefits in the delivery of multimillion pound capital projects, most recently Wallyford Learning Campus, within a volatile construction market environment. These challenges, particularly in relation to inflation and its impacts on prices, remain and will be closely managed throughout the period to ensure we achieve best value while, at the same time, achieving the high-quality finish that we can see in our other projects.

“This is the first time we have worked with Balfour Beatty on a school new-build. They join an experienced and professional team of council officers, project managers and architects with a proven track record of delivering excellent learning spaces. I look forward to seeing both projects progress as I’m sure the families living and moving into the catchment areas will too.”

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