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New net zero school planned for North Wales

Current Ysgol Bontnewydd site

An engineering, environmental, and planning consultancy’s education sector experience will be utilised on the build of a new net zero school in North Wales.

Caulmert, which has offices in St Asaph, Bangor, Altrincham, Nottingham, and Kent, has secured the contract with Cyngor Gwynedd to deliver civil and structural work on the new Community Campus in Bontnewydd near Caernarfon.

Funded via the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Schools’ Challenge, £12 million will finance the net zero project, which includes community facilities on the wider campus, such as a hall, office space, and car charging points.

There are currently two buildings on the site, a community centre located in a former Victorian school, and the current Ysgol Bontnewydd in a 1970’s building. Both are part of Cyngor Gwynedd’s plan to reuse materials, reducing the carbon footprint of the new development.

Caulmert has so far completed a survey of the current school site to assess what can be repurposed prior to demolition and is set to carry out further investigations.

Reflecting Wales’ net zero carbon mandate, the firm’s analysis of the current structures will feed into the building information modelling (BIM) team’s recommendations.

David High, associate at Caulmert, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Cyngor Gwynedd again, they are a great client and we enjoyed working with them on the £9m new Ysgol Y Garnedd project in Bangor.

“A key element of this project will focus on minimising carbon emissions for the construction process, keeping sustainability front of mind.

“We welcome the opportunity to be part of such a pioneering scheme, a new net zero school in North Wales, which will no doubt set a precedent for other institutions in the region.”

Richard Farmer, project manager at Cyngor Gwynedd, added: “Bontnewydd Community Campus is an exciting and innovative opportunity for us all.

“The Welsh government has challenged us to demonstrate our vision for sustainable construction and community involvement in school construction.

“Both the design process and the final building will be exemplars and we are pleased to welcome Caulmert to the team.”

Cyngor Gwynedd also has plans to introduce as many types of renewable energy as possible, and to utilise surplus locally where achievable.

A nearby river, Afon Gwyrfai, also has the potential to provide a source for hydroelectric and water source heat pumps.

Transport to and from classes will factor into the school’s sustainable ethos too, with safe travel links for walking or cycling to be established.

Founded in 2009, Caulmert is on track to meet an ambitious growth and development plan.

Its expertise in a variety of planning, environmental and engineering disciplines is supported by its use of BIM to a level two standard in many of its projects.