Contractor-led QED Wates will rebuild or refurbish all the town's 13 secondary schools by 2013

Luton Borough Council, QED Wates and Building Schools for the Future Investments have today reached financial close to deliver the town's £280m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Financial close was achieved just 18 months after the start of the procurement process - two months ahead of schedule.

Wates-led QED Wates will rebuild or refurbish all Luton's 13 secondary schools over the next four years.

The first schools to benefit from the investment are Challney High School for Girls, where building works have already started (on 25 May), Lea Manor High School, and Luton's two academies: Barnfield West and Barnfield South, where work will commence next Monday, 8 June.

As part of the programme, Wates will also build a community library, a theatre, adult education and youth facilities and multi-agency office space. In addition, the partnership set up by the council and Wates will be used to deliver social housing, leisure projects - including the 50m Luton aquatic centre, primary schools and other community facilities.

QED Wates plans to use a "substantial proportion" of local labour, suppliers and subcontractors and to train 260 apprenticeships during the four years of the programme.