Cardigan Primary School Renovation and Extension – Progress Report No. 3
Construction works continue at a pace in 2023 as LEB Construction transforms the look and usability of Cardigan Primary School
Since our last report, we may have stepped forward a year, from 2022 to 2023, but some things are reliably familiar: our dedication and commitment in our delivery of the £2.73m renovation and extension project at Cardigan Primary School.
We are now over 42% of our way through the 64-week contract, following our appointment by Ceredigion County Council, and works on the ground are showing huge progress, with further sections of the school handed over for use.
In essence, the construction works to the existing 1950s structure which houses Cardigan Infant and Junior schools comprises extension and renovation works. The footprint of the school is increasing by almost a quarter (423m2 increase to the existing 1766m2), there’s a new link extension that connects together the Junior and Infant buildings, a new staff support area and a two-storey rear extension with additional fire exits and WCs, and a new lift will provide access to the Junior block.
Aesthetically, the main entrance to the school is being transformed, with an extended Reception and completely new modern façade and look.
This is our third progress report, following on from progress reports 1 and 2, and as before, it is divided into ten project areas that we can report progress on:
Have you read our first progress report? (Click here)
Area 1 – New toilets
The scope for Area 1 was the refurbishment of the existing WCs opposite Classroom 7.
As reported in progress report 2, these works have been completed and successfully handed over to the school.
Area 2 – New school Main Reception
New Head Teacher's Office
The single-storey transformation of the main school entrance to create a new Reception, General Office, Headteacher’s Office, Meeting Room, disabled shower, link corridor to the existing school structure and a store room has now been completed and handed over the school.
Since progress report 2, second-fix MEP and carpentry have been completed, as have painting and decorating.
On the outside, and offering a brand-new first impression of the school, the Reception extension cladding has been completed and brings a bright and modern appearance. Vertical cedar click cladding is contrasted by red smooth rock panels.
The newly completed ramp helps provide easier access, while external works such as tarmacking and replacement manhole covers have also been completed.
Adding character inside are three painted feature walls finished in dark blue to complement the school colour themes, as requested by the head teacher. The remainder of the walls are finished in a tasteful off-white with a blue hue, plus a crisp white ceiling.
Underfoot, a barrier mat has been laid at the front entrance to help keep the outside out. Grey vinyl adorns the floors of the Reception and corridors, while offices have been treated to hard-wearing carpet tiles finished in dark grey.
Visitors will now be greeted by a new oak reception desk which stands proud and welcoming for those stepping through the all-new entrance.
The new fire alarm and burglar alarm systems have been commissioned and are ready for connection to the rest of the school once works are completed.
Area 3 – New corridor
The new corridor has been completed and is already in use, frequented by scampering little feet.
These works involved the creation of a 3.5-metre-high corridor consisting of new stud walls fitted with plasterboard panels and a plaster finish. The walls and ceiling voids have been installed with fire protection and MEP works were completed ahead of painting and decorating.
The new corridor also creates additional space for the new classroom in Area 4. Area 3 was completed in the summer and handed over to the school.
Area 4 – Conversion of ‘conservatory’ area
In progress report 2, we confirmed that this area was almost finished. We are delighted to announce that it is now complete and has been handed back to the school.
We have added a new single-ply membrane Alumasc roof, installed two new windows and a fire escape, rewired the electrics and provided a new data connection point and power supply for the addition of a smart touchscreen board.
New MEP supplies a new kitchen area with units, worktop complete with sink. The new heating was commissioned along with an MVHR air circulation system.
Area 4 was finished with new carpet tiles covering around a third of the floor space and vinyl flooring covering the remainder.
Externally, a new smooth-finish black and red panel cladding has been installed, and fresh tarmac has been laid to the extended path and new ramp.
Area 5 – This section has been omitted
Area 6 – Link building
The link building is a significant piece of the Cardigan Primary School extension puzzle. It’s a single-storey link building extension and is the largest element of the project, creating a new Parent Room, Staff Room, Staff Work Area, two Year 3 classrooms, a Library along a wide sweeping corridor, a Nook, new WCs and a photovoltaic array on the new flat roof.
However, in progress report 02, having already dug and poured the new concrete foundations, with brickwork getting up to DPC level, we reported discovery of a water main that was previously unknown or identified on service records.
We split the area into two parts so that works could progress where the water pipe did not impact (6A), and the works in the area around the pipe (6B) could be held until Welsh Water had undertaken diversion works.
Those diversion works, around the perimeter of the school buildings, were completed prior to the Christmas break, so we have been able to progress with both areas 6A and 6B.
Area A masonry work has been complete, and Area B is catching up fast, with the whole of area 6 now having progressed to 85% complete. A new 2m-high walls have been constructed, complete with window and door openings, alongside the new lift shaft.
Area 7 – New heating and disabled toilets
This section comprises mainly MEP works set to be undertaken in the in February half term and over the Easter break.
Area 8 – Removing Nursery toilet to create space for gym equipment
Area 8 incorporated plans to remove the existing Nursery WC, 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 were to be removed, as well as making good to walls and new floor coverings.
Work were commenced and completed in the summer of 2022.
Area 9 – Corridors, kitchenettes and WCs
These works were to form corridors to the new stairwell and WC of Area 10, along with two additional disabled WCs on the ground and first floors for the Lower and Upper Juniors, respectively. Additionally, new kitchen areas were planned in two classrooms and a temporary fire escape.
Work was commenced and completed in the summer of 2022, along with structural openings through to the lift shaft. This will be where the lift doors are.
Area 10 – Rear stairwell and WCs
This section of the project is to construct a two-storey extension to house new boys’ WCs on the ground and first floors, along with a new stairwell.
Toilets being progressed
Progress has been significant, and our progress report 2 noted that we had completed the main construction, along with 66% of the rendering. MEP first fix has been completed and 85% of the plasterboard has been installed, with plastering commencing imminently.
To date, the rendering has now been completed and the perimeter scaffolding has been taken down. The roof connection works are all complete as well as the new flat roof, with only rainwater pipes and gutters left to install.
On the inside, the walls have all been plastered, with MEP work and carpentry completed in early Feb. Painting and decorating followed and was completed alongside the WC’s Integrated Plumbing System (IPS) cubicles allowing handover to the school in February half term.
Variations and additional works
Following on from the completion of the drainage repair works, we have now installed a new gas meter with cabinet to replace the existing.
News on-site – Weeks 27
The main news on-site has been handing over the key areas 2 and 4, providing the school with its all-new new entrance and Reception, plus the addition space afforded by the works in the conservatory conversion.
At Christmas, we were able to put some smiles on faces by giving out 452 chocolate selection boxes to the pupils of the Infant and Junior schools as well as the neighbouring Flying Start Nursery.
When working in the communities that we do, we like to try and give back where we can. This Christmas, we were delighted to make a £1,000 donation to the Cardigan Foodbank.
We now have the dates for our work experience pupils from Cardigan College (Coleg Ceredigion), the first of whom will come to us in February. There will be two students, and each will be on-site for ten days to get an inside look at construction works. Both will get to shadow a Senior Supervisor during their time on-site.
Cardigan College offers a variety of courses for those intent on a career in construction, from apprenticeships to diplomas in carpentry and joinery, construction and building services engineering and trade skills, as well as part-time electrical courses.
We have been delighted to continue to welcome the clients to site, as well as providing the head teacher with tours of the ongoing works to keep her up to speed with how the project is progressing.
Furthermore, Building Control inspectors continue to carry out site visits and sign off our works as we move from stage to stage.
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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