Instead of refurbishing their faded 1960s tower block, Warrington Collegiate decided to totally modernise the campus within a £27M project. A striking three-storey building featuring a Business School, theatre, training restaurant and a major construction skills centre has been built next to the site of the old tower which has now been demolished. Bridget Floyd inherited the project management role part way through the development in difficult circumstances
Can you describe your role and the situation when you began?
My role as facilities manager was to keep the old college running whilst moving people and closing buildings down. I coordinated this as well as the project management of the new build when the project manager was tragically killed in an accident 12 months ago; I just had to pick it up and run with it. It's a completely new campus consisting of seven buildings but only one building was occupied when I took over, the others were under construction and were occupied in phases; we continued to work in the old buildings whilst moving into the new ones.
Who was responsible for the selection of the contractor and the kitchen suppliers?
We're independent so the selection of the contractors was done by ourselves, but I wasn't involved at that stage. The kitchen fit out was outside the contract and we looked at a number of kitchen contractors before selecting Vision who were recommended by Kendal College, a centre of catering vocational excellence.
Had they already used Vision?
Yes, and that decided it really. We didn't have the expertise within the college to design kitchens so we bought in that skill from Vision and then worked with them on the design and purchase of the equipment. We obviously already had kitchens and we had a limited budget, so we asked Vision to do an assessment of the present catering equipment with a view to reusing as much as possible in the new kitchens. So some of the kitchens are a mixture of new equipment and reused equipment - we even rescued things like the electric fly killers!
How feasible was integrating new and existing equipment?
One kitchen is completely new, the others are about 40% reused equipment, some of which was fairly new anyway. Vision managed to create designs using the existing equipment where possible. We have a commercial kitchen for students and we have two catering curriculum kitchens, in other words kitchens used for the training of students. These two are both different, one is a student training kitchen, the other is a chefs training kitchen with a restaurant for 50 people where tables can be reserved for lunch or dinner.