Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur, the £19m new Welsh medium secondary school in Sandfields, Port Talbot, has been handed over to Neath Port Talbot Council following completion of building work by contractors Bouygues UK.
The development has been jointly funded by Neath Port Talbot Council and the Welsh Government, as part of its 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.
Bouygues UK staff spent 68 weeks on-site and the building has now been handed over three weeks early.
There were 26 weeks spent off-site at pre-construction stage so in 94 weeks the project went from a blank sheet of paper to the now completed building.
Just before handover, Bouygues UK invited years 6 and 7 to a transport test – to ensure bus drivers became familiar with their new route and the new car parking area and that pupils knew their way into school once they were off the bus.
There was an unusual challenge for the construction team at the beginning of the project when they discovered the site was home to more than 300 Slow-worms (Anguis fragilis) – the lizards were successfully relocated to a new home before construction work could begin.
The new school is the southern campus of Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera whose head teacher Matthew Evans said:
“Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera is very proud of its sister campus in the south, which will aim to forge new and strong relationships with communities south of the county borough in the years ahead”.
Councillor Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, added:
“The new Welsh medium campus, together with the redevelopment of the existing Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera site in the north, will form a key part of the Council’s plans to strengthen the provision of Welsh medium education across the county borough”.
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan, said of the development earlier this year:
“Increasing the number of Welsh medium schools, as well as supporting English medium schools to increase their Welsh provision, is crucial to our aim of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
“I am delighted the Welsh Government has been able to support the development with funding of nearly £11 million from the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme. It is an excellent example of what the Welsh Government is achieving by working in partnership with local government and schools.”
Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur will eventually accommodate up to 650 pupils aged 11 to 16. The new school is on the site of the former Sandfields Comprehensive and Traethmelyn Primary Schools.
The Council’s Strategic School Improvement Programme is gathering pace and 2018 is seeing four new school projects: The second phase of Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera (£3.5m), Ysgol Cwm Brombil (£30m), Ysgol Bro Dur (£19m) and Ysgol Carreg Hir (£7m).