YSGOL Pen Rhos in Llanelli are celebrating a double win at the RICS Social Impact Awards 2020.
The awards recognise building projects which have had a positive and transforming effect on communities and the everyday lives of people.
Ysgol Pen Rhos not only won the Education category, but was also named the overall Project of the Year.
The school, created from the merger of the former Copperworks Infant Nursery School and Lakefield Primary School, was officially opened in June 2018 on the site of the former Copperworks Sport & Social Club and the Draka wire factory.
It delivers a new, modern 21st century learning facility that has regenerated a derelict, once heavily industrial, highly contaminated brownfield site, which was prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
The school features facilities including a flying start nursery, solar panels and classroom terraces for outdoor lessons. A 3G pitch has also been made available for school and community use, as well as hard and soft landscaping areas. Features including brickwork and pitched roofs have been incorporated to reflect the industrial heritage of a neighbouring terrace of houses, alongside the use of more contemporary features like metal and wooden cladding. The project also delivered community benefits including training and local employment.
The judges said: “Ysgol Pen Rhos represents an exemplar approach towards the development and delivery of education and life skills to learners, their families and also the wider community. The project has demonstrably delivered regeneration of a former industrial site, once plagued with anti-social behaviour in one of Wales’ most socioeconomically deprived areas. Judges were impressed with the enthusiasm of the head teacher, Joe Cudd, and his team at the school along with the extent to which they actively reach out to their community. Ysgol Pen Rhos has become a real driver for economic benefit and change in the local area.”
Organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the awards’ showcase the very best from across Wales. There were eight categories in total, and as overall winners Ysgol Pen Rhos beat a number of other prestigious developments including the International Convention Centre in Newport, Cardiff’s Capital Quarter and the SA1 waterfront development in Swansea.
Ysgol Pen Rhos was funded by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme and the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools initiative. It was initially developed, then delivered and project managed by the council’s in-house Property Design Team, working with HLM Architects; and constructed by T Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd.
Executive Board Member for Educations and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved with the project. Ysgol Pen Rhos is a facility the community needed and deserved. It allows the school’s staff, under head teacher Joe Cudd’s unique leadership, to address the local challenges and it provides an exciting and safe place for our children and young people to develop and achieve.”
Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans added: “This is an excellent example of how the built environment can make a positive impact on society and our communities. We are extremely proud of what has been achieved at Ysgol Pen Rhos; it really has made a big difference to people’s lives and I am delighted that it has been recognised in this way.”