Packaged Plant Room for Cardinal Newman High School

Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in Latchford, south of Warrington is a vibrant and welcoming Catholic High School. With over 800 students aged 11-16, It first opened its doors in the 1930’s. Cardinal Newman was formed when two Warrington high schools – English Martyr’s and St John’s – merged in 2003.

The heating for the school buildings has been provided by an old oil fired boiler that was installed in the mid 1980’s. The burners used on the old boiler are now obsolete and the cost of ongoing repairs has become prohibitive.

Working closely with the school and considering the risk of asbestos within the existing plant room, the decision was taken to create a bespoke, standalone packaged plant room, to sit outside the building and connect into the existing school pipework. It’s fully insulated and lined with two huge access doors at the front and a flue system on the top to remove unwanted gases.

We have built quite a number of these packaged plant rooms over recent years for the likes of Aberdeen heat and Power. They offer the ability to create a complete and fully fitted plant room that can be connected with far less interruption to the existing heating provision than would be the case if we had to remove all of the existing plant, before we started work.

This latest plant room contains four Ideal Evomax 2 150kw boilers. On efficiency alone they have the old oil fired system beaten, with around 97% efficiency compared to nearer 60% from the old system. Combined with the ability to cascade boilers (ie only fire up as much power as is needed to meet the demand) the ongoing savings in fuel and carbon footprint are huge.

The new boilers link to a Plate Heat Exchanger (PHE) that keeps the fluid from the existing radiators and pipework separated, so they cannot contaminate the new boilers and pump system. There’s also an air dirt separator inline and a dosing system on both sides of the system too.

The new system connects into the existing pipework inside the plant room via a new transport pump system.

There’s a BMS to control the whole system and a control panel that allows all of the boilers and pumps to be controlled centrally in the clean, brightly lit space of the new plant room.

The final detail is the link to the fire control system. Should fire be detected within the school buildings (or the plant room) the solenoid kicks in and the gas supply to the system is shut off.

The actual cost of the container – even fully insulated and lined – is surprisingly low and the additional flexibility it brings in installation, is worth every penny.

When we work with schools for major plant room overhauls, we are normally restricted to working within school holiday periods. For some of the largest projects, these can take well over a week, which limits us to working in Easter and Summer only. By using packaged plant, we speed up the site process, which means that with good planning, we can install during the much shorter half term breaks too.

You can see the progress of the job here. It was initially fitted out with all of its plant on our own site, before being lifted and then placed onto the allocated site at the school.


Prior to the fitting team arriving on item, the builders work had been completed to prepare the site. In this instance, an old tank room was repurposed to create a new home for the packaged plant room.


All of the connections were then made via the old basement plant room into the existing pipework within the school.


A new inlet pipe was installed to supply gas to the new packaged plant room and a new flue created.


You can see the finished container in situ with a sneak peak inside, but there are more images to share, but we will show these in the case study that’s coming soon.



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