£21million transformation for Ammanford school

A massive £21million transformation of Ammanford’s Ysgol Dyffryn Aman is taking place, remarkably with the 1,600 pupils still at their desks there.
Over the last nine months the first phase of works has been progressing to upgrade current facilities and provide additional accommodation to meet the needs for the delivery of secondary education in the southern area of Dinefwr.
It is planned by September 2012 the school will have the first phase delivered of a new administration and 6th form block; a new 24-pupil special education needs block; a totally refurbished and extended science block; covered links between all buildings, extensive works to the IT infrastructure and new computers and whiteboards.
The transformation will provide enhanced learning facilities supplemented by enlarged parking facilities to provide an additional 30-car parking spaces and considerable improvements to the external environment and circulation areas.
This first phase of the project is being undertaken by local contractor T. Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd , appointed under the Authority contractor framework arrangement is progressing to programme.
Work is also been undertaken to improve facilities at the Leisure Centre which sits alongside and is an integral part of school’s and local community life.
In addition to substantial improvements being made to the fabric of existing buildings, considerable investment will have been made in photovoltaic panels, combined heat and power plant and energy efficient boilers, rainwater harvesting and other sustainable technologies.
These will not only enhance the internal environment for pupils and staff along with improving the energy performance of the buildings but will also enable the school to utilise elements as a teaching medium in relation to sustainable technology and developments.
Further phases of work at the school will see improved accommodation and amenities within all of the other remaining blocks at the school along with further development works to the playing fields to the rear which will provide enhanced sports facilities for the school which has an historic rich tradition of conveyor belting talented rugby players and cricketers.
Head teacher, Steve Perks, said they were exciting times. He admitted the complex and logistical issues of having to remain fully operational with 1,600 pupils of site during the construction was challenging but in many ways hugely beneficial.
“The students can literally see the future school evolving before them and many of them have secured part-time work with the contractors over the summer holidays, so we are potentially introducing pupils to careers in the construction industry with this all embracing work in progress ethos.”
Whilst the delivery of this project has meant considerable disruption to the school, staff and it’s pupils, through extensive discussions, planning and exceptional collaboration between the school, contractors and design teams has ensured that the school been able to continue to function throughout.
The Ysgol Dyffryn moderisation future phasing is part of £151million being invested in schools across Carmarthenshire. Funding of almost £87million has been secured through the Welsh Government’s 21stCentury Schools programme, to be matched by the county council. That programme starts in 2013, and it means Carmarthenshire can fully fund its Modernising Education Programme up to 2020.
Further new schools will be built and major refurbishments carried out at a number of locations across the county including Carreg Hirfaen, Seaside, Burry Port, Dyffryn Cothi, Trimsaran and Llandeilo. A number of secondary schools are also in line for improvements.
County chief executive Mark James, who was among a party of guests meeting project team members and contractors shown round Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, said: “Completion of this project will ensure that this school will have facilities and technology to deliver secondary education to a very high standard well into the 21st Century
“An improved environment for children leads to improved performance. The best environment we can provide is what every child in Carmarthenshire deserves,” he said
By the end of this financial year, Carmarthenshire will have spent almost £128million on its Modernising Education Programme, building six new primaries and one secondary school, and extending or refurbishing 33 others. Two new schools have opened in Llanelli at Ysgol y Felin and Brynsierfel.

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