Morgan Sindall Construction has handed over a new £27 million replacement home for Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School in Neath, South Wales, three months ahead of schedule.
More than 800 students have now started lessons at the two-storey, 97,000 square foot building, which includes 48 state-of-the-art classrooms, comprising creative workspaces, art facilities, and a bespoke learning support centre available for students with additional learning needs.
Neath Port Talbot Council commissioned the project as part of its Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) and it was procured through the South West Wales Regional Contractors framework. The scheme is part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme, which aims to give young people the best and most up to date educational facilities possible.
Cefn Saeson Comprehensive boasts impressive sports facilities, with four MUGA courts (multi-use games area), an activity studio, and a 3G pitch. Importantly, it will provide adaptable ICT facilities with integrated mobile technology, which will help equip young people with vital digital skills.
Throughout the project, Morgan Sindall Construction supported new entrants and created apprenticeships and work placement opportunities for the local community. Phil Parry, from Neath, who had been long term unemployed, was taken on as part of the team at Cefn Saeson, whilst local career changer, Shannon Jones, has gone from being unemployed to becoming a qualified plant operator after just four months on site. Approximately £11 million of contracts were awarded to sub-contractors within the South West Wales region.
The total spend to date (Bands A and B) under the 21st Century Schools Programme in modernising Neath Port Talbot’s school estate has now reached £150 million; the biggest investment by any council in Wales outside of Cardiff.
Rob Williams, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We are extremely proud to have played a part in Neath Port Talbot Council’s investment in its next generation. The school will have a real impact on the education and futures of young people in the area.
“Providing modern schools fit for 21st century education is a key priority for the local authority, and the designs for Cefn Saeson answer that brief perfectly. The school offers an improved learning environment, with plenty of new sporting facilities to inspire the next generation of promising athletes; while the upgraded IT provisions will help children to succeed in a digitally-enabled world where more than half of the jobs they’ll have over their careers don’t even exist yet.”
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Leisure and Skills, Cllr Peter Rees, said: “We are delighted to see this latest new Neath Port Talbot school being completed and ready to move into and congratulations to our contractors Morgan Sindall Construction for finishing the school ahead of schedule.
“Cefn Saeson is one of the many 21st Century Schools building projects the council has commissioned with the aim of giving our young people the best and most up to date educational facilities the council can possibly provide them with.
“The old school served the community well but the new Cefn Saeson Comprehensive is now one of our many modern schools aimed at ensuring our pupils are taught in up-to-date, high quality buildings and ensuring places are available to serve local pupil demand, to reduce surplus capacity and to promote sustainability.”
Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School is the second major education handover for the main contractor’s Cardiff office this year. Morgan Sindall Construction also recently completed the £30.5 million Whitmore High School in Barry four months ahead of schedule; the 21st century school includes an all-weather pitch, fitness suite and multi-use games court.