From education to employment

Contractor moves closer to completing two new educational facilities in Vale of Glamorgan

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Wales team is making swift progress at two new educational facilities in the Vale of Glamorgan on behalf of the council worth a combined value of £13.8m.

Cowbridge Primary School and Derw Newydd (formerly known as the Centre for Learning and Well-Being) are both new buildings as part of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Sustainable Communities for Learning programme in collaboration with Welsh Government. 

Procured through South East & Mid Wales Collaborative Construction Framework (SEWSCAP), the projects aim to deliver new facilities to suit differing, yet pertinent needs presented by the local community in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Derw Newydd’s £7.4m development on the former Court Road Depot site in Barry will replace the current Pupil Referral Unit, Y Daith, and will be managed by Ysgol Y Deri, the council’s special educational needs school.

The development is a purpose-built building for special educational needs in the Vale of Glamorgan and is part of the Welsh Government’s initiative to provide appropriate facilities for those students, creating places for 60 children of comprehensive school age who have been referred to Derw Newydd.

Morgan Sindall started the demolition of the recycling centre back in June 2022. Current progress includes the completion of slab-laying and erection of steel beams, with construction due to finish in July 2023 in time to welcome the first cohort in September. 

Derw Newydd’s design comprises of eight classrooms, a lab, a food tech kitchen, gym, 1:1 rooms and external areas which include a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA), informal spaces and a habitat enclosure.  There are three existing units that will be utilised for subjects such as mechanics and DT and a further single storey building with possibilities for use by the school.

Meanwhile, the £6.4m development at Cowbridge Comprehensive is the addition of a primary school to meet a growth in demand in the local community and will provide 210 pupil places to make a through school once handed over in July 2023.   

Morgan Sindall is currently in the process of installing the school’s interior mechanics and electrical systems, which lies on a greenfield site within the school’s grounds. The contractor has planned its progression at the live site carefully to avoid disruption to pupils’ learning, including the shutdown of operations during examinations and enclosed work areas.

As a result of the green space being used for Cowbridge Comprehensive’s expansion, the contractor will also install a 3G MUGA and has also gifted and installed basketball hoops for the school.

Derw Newydd and Cowbridge Comprehensive School provide the opportunity for Morgan Sindall to roll out its Intelligent Solutions approach. This includes using its in-house CarboniCa tool throughout construction, used to track the contractor’s carbon footprint, and employing K2N as an ongoing energy usage database. Both schools are also equipped with air pump heating and PVS solar panels to contribute towards net zero goals.

Outside of the construction of the school, Morgan Sindall is also focussing on its social value efforts with work experience placements for engineering students, site visits for geology pupils and helping with community allotments.

Rob Williams, area director for the Morgan Sindall Wales team, said: 

“We’re proud to work with the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council and Welsh Government to help improve educational needs in Wales by delivering two key buildings which will enhance learning and increase places in the area. Both schools have been designed with pupils at the forefront and will provide a 21st century standard teaching environment for them to thrive in. In particular, the practical spaces at Derw Newydd will promote learning outside of a classroom setting which will make a real impact on students’ learning.

“We’re now looking forward to handing over both of these projects in the summer, just in time for the new school year. Our team will ensure in the run up to completion that we share great knowledge regarding running the building in a net zero manner as possible to pupils and teachers as part of our ethos of delivering sustainable, carbon-friendly buildings of the future.”

Cllr Rhiannon Birch, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language, said: 

“These two new developments are the latest in in a far-reaching series of work being carried out under our Sustainable Communities for Learning programme. Delivered in partnership with Welsh Government, this is the most ambitious ever undertaken in the Vale.

“Educational facilities are being upgraded across the county, with many new schools already built and others significantly refurbished. That will provide pupils and staff with ultra-modern learning environments and the very best platform for success.

“Morgan Sindall has been a key partner in that work and I have no doubt two further top quality facilities will be delivered at Cowbridge Primary and Derw Newydd.”

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