Work on Penarth Learning Community reaches top spot

Penarth Learning Community celebrated construction reaching its highest point with a traditional topping out ceremony. Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Education and Skills, and representatives from the project team celebrated the occasion by raising a yew tree to the top of the building, a tradition which dates back to medieval times.

Designed by HLM, and built by Leadbitter, a Bouygues UK company, the £39.4million project is creating two new schools in a single building on the site of St Cyres School in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. As well as providing new facilities for the mainstream comprehensive school, the project will create a new SEN school, Ysgol y Deri. This will accommodate pupils from three existing SEN schools in the area: Ysgol Erw’r Delyn, Ysgol Maes Dyfan and Ashgrove School.

The site is located on the western edge of Penarth and the new build will be located on the current St Cyres playing fields. The two schools will be accommodated within one main building with St Cyres having a gross internal area of 11,851 sq m and the SEN provision having a gross internal area of 7,942 sq m. It will feature the latest wireless technology, a sensory room and a sensory and splash pool, along with a variety of specially designed classrooms.

Jane Wade, Operations Manager Property for Vale of Glamorgan Council, said:

“This is a very exciting project for the Vale of Glamorgan Council and forms an important part of the council’s 21st century schools programme. The topping out marks an important date in the progress of project, which not only provides state of the art facilities for the schools but also for the whole community.”

Jonathan Jones, Associate Director at HLM, added:

“The topping out is an important milestone in the construction of this building. We have embraced design principles with this project that will allow the pupils from all four original schools to realise their full learning potential whilst creating stronger community links with local residents and better working environment for the teachers.”

The new school building has been designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating. It features concrete flat slab construction and recessed windows to promote natural cooling, with natural ventilation and use of daylight incorporated into the design.

Construction is taking place in two phases, with pupils from St Cyres moving into their new school in October 2014 and Ysgol y Deri being occupied from December 2014.