NuGen Properties

GF Tomlinson to build Sherwood planetarium

The planetarium is being built by GF Tomlinson

The start of work follows the award of a government ‘levelling up’ grant to the Sherwood Observatory Science Discovery Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield, where the new planetarium is being built.

The development will transform a disused underground Victorian reservoir, dug in the 1880s, into an education centre for school and group visits. It will have an exhibition hall, classrooms, a café and meeting rooms, as well as the planetarium itself.

The reservoir will have a new structure built above it, to increase the useable space and transform the existing structure into a habitable building.

GF Tomlinson has been appointed through Scape’s ‘beyond the public sector’ framework to complete pre-construction design and planning, with the centre expected to be completed and fully operational by autumn 2024. Working with Scape enabled the client to accelerate the delivery of the scheme through early contractor involvement, GF Tomlinson said.

Plans were submitted to Ashfield District Council by Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society, in November 2022.

Craig Stopper, framework construction manager at GF Tomlinson, said: “We feel very privileged to have been chosen as the main contractor, by Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society, to lead on such an exciting and unique project, and what promises to be a pivotal tourism and educational attraction. The multi-million-pound scheme will attract thousands of visitors to the region and raise not only awareness of the local area and the history of the site, but STEM career opportunities for future generations.”

Sherwood Observatory project manager Steve Wallace said: “We have been eagerly anticipating this moment for several years and it’s great to have reached the point where we are able have GF Tomlinson join the team.

“The new centre greatly increase the capacity of the observatory, to deliver outreach, and will help to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers from across the region, thereby supporting jobs growth and prosperity.”

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