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Cardigan Primary School - Project Update No. 1

Our first site progress update for the Renovation and Extension works at Cardigan Primary School

Following their appointment by Ceredigion County Council, this project represents LEB’s largest project award to date.

Dating back to the 1950s, the Cardigan School premises was split into two separate schools, one Infant and one Junior. A sizeable new link extension will marry the Junior and Infant buildings together while a new inspiring school entrance provides a more spacious reception area, two new classrooms, a new staff support area and a two-storey rear extension with additional fire exits and toilets.

Furthermore, a new lift will be constructed and installed to provide access to the Junior block. Overall, the school will be extended by 423m2 from its existing 1766m2 footprint.

Starting on site during the 2022 summer holidays, for the pupils at least, our team, consisting of local labour from within 30 miles of the school, has excelled in getting the project onto the front foot.

LEB has split the project into ten areas. The works associated with these areas, along with a progress report to date, are provided below. We will provide more project progress reports and news over the coming weeks and months.

To put some meat on the bones, at week 11, here’s the latest:

Area 1 – New toilets

This is a refurbishment of the existing toilets opposite Classroom 7.

Area 2 – New school main reception

The headline-grabbing section of the works, and rightly so, is this bold and modern new entrance to the school, which has transformed the building with a contemporary look and vibrant colours.

The new entrance consists of a single-storey extension and a reimagining of the reception area, which adds a new Head Teacher Office, General Office, Meeting Room, Disabled Shower and storage rooms.

Foundations have been dug and structural alterations made to link the new entrance extension to the reception foyer. Substructure brickwork to DPC preceded the commencement of the blockwork and lifting of the scaffolding in preparation for the installation of roof joists. Wall plate level has already been reached, and posi-joists are due to be installed next week.

Area 3 – New corridor

These works are to create a new 3.5-metre-high corridor consisting of new stud walls finished with plasterboard and a plaster finish. The walls and ceiling voids will be provided with fire protection, mechanical and electrical works before the finishing touches are applied with painting and decorating.

Area 4 – Conversion of ‘conservatory’ area

A formerly underutilised area with a conservatory-style roof will be converted into a classroom. So far, the existing transparent roof has been taken down and removed and the construction of the new single-ply membrane roof has commenced in addition to the builders work to create new infills for the room. The team has been working hard to overcome the complexities of linking the new roof to the existing structure, which was caused by a difference in levels, and to resolve roof valley and gulley details to enable rainwater to drain away.

Area 5 – Works on hold

Area 6 – Link building

Area 2 may take the headlines for the project, but the largest element of the project is the link building, a single-storey structure connecting two existing parts of the school.

The existing void is being closed up to provide a new Parent Room, Staff Room, Staff Work Area, two Year 3 classrooms, a library along a wide sweeping corridor, a Nook, new toilets and a PV array on the new flat roof.

Already, we have successfully dug and poured the new concrete foundations, with brickwork commencing imminently to take us up to DPC. The next two weeks will see the commencement and completion of superstructure blockwork. Works are being undertaken to adapt some existing underground drainage and to prepare for the installation of a new concrete-formed lift shaft ready for its hydraulic passenger elevator.

Area 7 – New heating and disabled toilets

This section comprises mainly M&E works set to be undertaken in the summer of 2023.

Area 8 – Removing Nursery toilet to create space for gym equipment

Area 8 incorporates plans to remove the existing Nursery toilet, which was replaced by the new WC facilities in Area 7, to create additional space for gym equipment storage. Works include the installation of new steel beams where walls are to removed, making good to walls and new floor covings.

Work were commenced and completed in the summer of 2022.

Area 9 – Corridors, kitchenettes and WCs

These works are to form corridors to new stairs and WC of Area 10, along with two additional disabled WCs on the ground and first floors. New kitchen areas are also to be installed in two classrooms, as well as a temporary fire escape.

Work were commenced and completed in the summer of 2022.

Area 10 – Rear stairwell and toilets

A new two-storey stairwell to serve the existing two-storey building.

With foundations having already been dug and concrete poured, brickwork has progressed to first-floor lift. Wall plate will be achieved next week before the new roof installation can commence. The team has been ensuring that the new and existing floor levels are matched for a smooth transition between the two areas.

Variations and additional works

Following downpours over the summer, LEB discovered that some of the drainage serving the school appeared to be damaged and was not allowing water to flow away. A CCTV survey confirmed the extent of the damage and that the sewers had partially collapsed. LEB has been appointed to carry out these works.

News on site – Weeks 1–11

With the autumn term now in session and classrooms filled with young minds keen to absorb their teachers’ learnings, we have worked closely with the school to ensure that the transition from the summer holidays to the school term has been safe and seamless.

LEB has handed back to the school the parts of the playground that were being used for additional storage over the summer.

Teachers have been very kind and understanding, parking in a local council car park during the construction works, as part of the existing playground has been designated and fenced off as a contractor’s compound and the car park is now being used as a playground. We'd like to thank the school staff for their support and patience.

The staff and pupils executed a successful fire drill, utilising the new fire exit routes and muster points.

One of the criteria for Community Benefit conditions was for a contribution to be made towards enhancing the local community. Collectively, the head teacher and her staff members have asked for an educational and sustainability feature for the school: some raised planters. This will allow the school to grow its own produce while teaching pupils the value of horticulture and the environment.

Site visits

We have been pleased to welcome back to the school all the staff and pupils but also the Building Control Inspector to examine and sign off foundation works.

We were also delighted to welcome Allan Bailey and Dylan Evans from Ceredigion County Council, who are Programme Manager and Senior Project Manager for the scheme, respectively.

With the school back to work, we have rescheduled our deliveries to avoid school hours, reducing the number of movements on site and maintaining a safe environment for staff, pupils and parents. As a result, our site deliveries for materials and the like now occur before or after school times. We have taken the same approach with any noisy works on site to avoid disturbing the children during class time.

A word from our Site Office

Paul Cartwright, Project Manager for LEB Construction, has said: "We have been very warmly welcomed by the head teacher and all her staff, which we are incredibly grateful for. In addition, the excellent community spirit and collaboration we have experienced has been further demonstrated by the local ambulance service, who we share an access route with. They have been very accommodating and supportive, and we’d like to express our sincerest thanks.

“The school is really starting to take shape and it’s exciting to see the great progress we’ve achieved over the summer. This has been made possible due to the impressive levels of dedication from the LEB team on the ground, and the support and understanding of their families, as long hours have been put in with many working away from home over the summer.”

Competition time

LEB will be holding a competition in the coming weeks so that students can submit their own artwork depicting the construction works and how they think the school will look once these are completed. The winning artwork will be displayed on our noticeboards or hoarding. We will unveil more details about the competition in the near future.

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