Work begins on pioneering education campus in Fairwater, Cardiff

  • 23rd February 2024

A traditional ground-breaking ceremony marked the start of work on the new building

A ground-breaking ceremony has marked the start of construction of a pioneering new joint education campus to be located in the Fairwater area of Cardiff.

The £110m project is the largest in scale and investment of Cardiff’s education developments delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Governments Band B Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

The development will include the construction of three new-build schools for Cantonian High School, Riverbank School, and Woodlands High School, all situated on a single site.

The ground was cut at the site by Wales’s First Minister, Mark Drakeford; Cardiff Council’s leader, Councillor Huw Thomas; and deputy leader and cabinet member for education, Councillor Sarah Merry.

They were joined by head of Cantonian High School, Geraint Jones; and chairman of governors, Barbara Connell; together with executive headteacher, Wayne Murphy, and chairman of governors, Bianca Rees, from the Western Learning Federation, of which Riverbank School and Woodlands High School are both a part of.

Also in attendance were representatives from HLM Architects, which designed the building; and contractor ISG.

An artist’s impression of the new development

Net zero targets

The development will be net zero carbon in line with Welsh Government standards and will set the standard for future Cardiff school projects.

“This venture holds significance for the local community, Cardiff, and Wales overall,” said Richard Skone, regional director of ISG.

“The focus on net zero premises aligns with the increasing importance of sustainable solutions in schools to combat climate change.

“And the targets set by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government resonate with ISG’s commitment, emphasising the importance of strong collaboration in achieving these shared goals.”

Each of the three schools will be highly-energy-efficient buildings that are powered from renewable energy sources, enabling Cardiff to deliver on its One Planet Strategy, which outlines the city’s ambition to mitigate climate change.

Drakeford said: “It’s great to see the construction of the new campus get underway, which will provide young people from Cantonian, Woodlands High, and Riverbank with an inspirational and modern learning environment.

“As well as being net zero carbon, the campus will provide facilities which benefit the community in this part of Cardiff for years to come.

An aerial view of the site

Work underway

“I’m really pleased the Welsh Government has been able to support the new development, through our Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, and I look forward to visiting again once the campus is complete.”.

In March 2023, Cardiff Council announced that ISG was selected as the preferred bidder for the design and build of the new joint education campus, to be located in the Fairwater area of the city.

ISG has now undertaken the detailed design process for the scheme and delivered the temporary accommodation associated with the works ahead of the build.

It will now build the remainder of the campus, which will also offer comprehensive facilities for public use outside of school hours.

It is anticipated that works on the campus will be completed by autumn 2026, with works on Cantonian High School completing by the end of 2025.

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