Kier has successfully handed over a new £9.64m school, Maes Derw, in Swansea. The school caters for vulnerable 5-16-year olds and the new building has been specifically designed to effectively support the needs of its pupils.
Maes Derw was jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government, as part of the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme, and brings together services, previously at four different locations into one integrated building.
The BREEAM excellent single-storey building features large and small classrooms to support group and individual learning as well as vocational spaces for activities such as home economics and design technology. Large windows were also installed at the rear of the building to allow plenty of natural light into the teaching spaces.
Work began in June 2019 and over the course of the two-year project, Kier worked with its local and specialist supply chain partners, of which 85% were from a 50 mile radius of the project at Cockett Road in Swansea. Works continued throughout the pandemic with full compliance to all Government guidance and Site Operating Procedures.
Jason Taylor, operations director for Kier Regional Building Western & Wales, said: “Collaboration has been at the heart of this project and over the past two years we have worked closely with Swansea Council, Welsh Government and the school’s headteacher to build a tailored space which meets the needs of its pupils.
“Maes Derw offers a range of modern, first-class facilities, with classrooms for large and small groups as well as spaces for activities, such as design and food technology. To aid student’s mental wellbeing the building has large windows to highlight its surroundings, including trees and fields.
“Throughout the duration of this project, we have looked to inspire students of the school by showcasing the range of roles and routes to entry available within the construction industry, by hosting careers talks and carrying out site tours using Matterport technology. We also worked with local supply chain partner, of which 75 percent are from the Swansea community which is part of our commitment to leaving lasting legacies in areas in which we work.”
Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Robert Smith said: "As well as providing a new home to the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), the Home Tuition team and Behaviour Support team, it also includes a new Halfway House.
"Bringing these services together under one roof is transforming the support the council provides to pupils either outside or at risk of leaving mainstream education.
"Many of the pupils have complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which if not fully addressed reduces their chances of future employment and wellbeing."
Earlier this year, headteacher for the new PRU school outlined what this new building would mean for her staff and pupils, read the blog in full here.