An exciting £28m project to reconfigure Newport’s The John Frost School and deliver the city’s first Welsh-medium secondary school has been shortlisted in the Education Buildings Wales Awards 2019.

The John Frost School and Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed are adjacent to each other in the Duffryn area of the city. Work on the two sites was delivered over 30 phases, with the new Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed building opening in September 2018.

The project was jointly funded by Newport City Council and Welsh Government under Band A of the 21st Century Schools programme, and was delivered by Newport Norse as part of its joint venture partnership with the council.

Newport Norse project managed the scheme, developing a strategic brief and delivering the project on time, under budget and to an exceptional standard, in conjunction with principal contractor BAM Construction.

The projects are shortlisted for both Project of the Year, and the Innovation in Delivering Value Award, with the winning entries being announced in Cardiff on June 19.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “This is excellent news and I’m delighted that this project, delivered by our partners Newport Norse, on behalf of the council, has been shortlisted for the awards.”

Councillor Gail Giles, Newport City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “This was the only Welsh medium secondary school to be developed in Wales in the last three years and, as a result of the funding from Newport City Council and Welsh Government, we were also able to carry out improvements works at The John Frost School. A fantastic project and fantastic partnership work.”

Mark McSweeney, Associate Director – Commercial and Projects, Newport Norse, said: “Being shortlisted for these prestigious national awards is testament to the effort put in by those involved. There were a number of significant hurdles to overcome during the project, so successfully delivering such an extensive scheme ahead of time and under budget emphasises the positive attitude of the team. The end result is some fantastic buildings in which children can learn and thrive.”

“During the last few years, Newport Norse has been developing its Commercial and Projects team, so being shortlist for Innovation in Delivering Value in particular confirms we are on the right path.”

Sustainability was a key focus for the project and the team engaged with National Resource Wales to incorporate climate change into its modelling. PV panels were also installed, generating 30,000kwh per year of renewable energy.

The team held local community focus workshops, created bi-lingual newsletters for residents and encouraged comprehensive stakeholder involvement, incorporating comments and requests where appropriate into the scheme.

Through design expertise, technical ability and a ‘can-do’ attitude, the wish to deliver outstanding buildings for both schools, without causing undue interference to existing buildings, has been successfully realised.

The projects have led to improved staff and student satisfaction and a legacy in Newport that inspires future generations to succeed, while catalysing the Welsh Government’s ambitions to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

*The project also features in the SPACES Yearbook 2019, alongside some of the best local authority schemes in the country.