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New comprehensive school hits a high point

The ongoing construction of Bridgend County Borough’s new £34m Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen has reached a high point – literally!

Almost a year to the day since a ground-breaking event marked the start of work at its site in Tondu, the school has held a traditional topping–out ceremony with a yew tree raised to the highest point of the building.

Intended to provide an innovative, modern learning environment for 1,570 pupils aged between 11 and 18, the design for the new school has already received a five-star ‘Outstanding’ rating from sustainable building specialists BREEAM – the first in Wales to achieve this.

It is being constructed on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council by the Leadbitter Group and will eventually replace the buildings currently occupied by Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen, which were the former Ogmore and Ynysawdre comprehensives.

On schedule to open in September 2013 and set to be recognised as one of the finest, most sustainable school buildings in the UK, the new school will serve the catchment area of the Ogmore and Garw valleys as well as the ‘valley gateway’ areas of Bridgend County Borough.

Incorporating low and zero carbon technologies, a carbon-neutral biomass boiler, a solar hot water system, photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting facilities, the new school will also make use of excess electricity generated by a combined heat and power system at the nearby Ynysawdre Pool and Fitness Centre.

The works are being funded through the Welsh Government’s school building transitional fund and the council’s own capital programme.


Council Leader Mel Nott said: “Work is really going well on this project and it’s good to see the topping-out ceremony is taking place a year to the day since we held a ground-breaking event here.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in getting us to this important milestone. Topping-out is more than a ceremonial gesture, it shows that we have reached a critical stage with this project and are now very close to making our vision of a world class school and community facility a reality.”

Councillor Huw David, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added: “When it opens next year, this £34m new school will be warmly welcomed as one of the finest, most sustainable school buildings in the UK.

“Providing pupils with a first class learning environment and serving as an excellent community hub, I have no doubts that Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen is going to point the way for the future of education in the UK.”

Rob Bradley, Managing Director of Leadbitter’s Western division, said: “Topping-out is a tradition in the building industry, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the progress on this important project. It is hugely rewarding to be constructing a new learning environment that will raise the bar in terms of both the educational opportunities offered and the sustainability of the building.”

Headteacher Andrew Warren added: “The staff and students of the school are very excited that the progress of our new building has reached this very significant point, and we are all very much looking forward to working and learning in our world-class new facility next September. 

“We can’t wait to develop our exciting plans for ICT, including providing an iPod touch for all students to access information, and a whole range of other innovations that will lead to significantly raised achievements and enhanced opportunities for our youngsters. 

“It is our mission to not only have one of the best school buildings in the UK but, together, to be one of the best schools in the UK”

Last Updated: 20/02/2013
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