A routine leak investigation took an unexpected turn for a primary school in Newport earlier this year, resulting in the school being closed because of a significant structural issue and a frantic search for alternative accommodation by Newport Norse.

While carrying out the work on an unrelated issue at St Andrew’s Primary, a Newport Norse operative became concerned by what he was seeing and enlisted the Building Surveying Team to investigate further. Following a specialist survey, the school’s junior building was closed because of a significant structural issue, threatening to leave hundreds of pupils without a school to return to when home-schooling came to an end just weeks later.

Led by the Newport Norse Estates Team, suitable alternative premises were negotiated and secured at the Connect Centre, a local multi-purpose community space. Following a three-week programme of light refurbishment and statutory repairs, it was repurposed as a school for 360 pupils.

In April, St Andrew’s @ the Connect Centre opened on time to welcome pupils from years 3-5 back for face to face learning, and initial works were completed to make the existing primary school site safe.

Managing Director of Newport Norse, Lyndon Watkins, said: “Making this happen in such a tight timeframe was a huge undertaking with many people dropping everything to prioritise this emergency, not just Newport Norse but various teams across the Council and other external bodies.

In addition to the Estates and the Building Surveyors, many others from Newport Norse were involved in making this happen including; Statutory Maintenance Team, Building Operatives and Cleaning Team who were instrumental in moving the school’s contents from the original site to the Connect Centre. It really shows what is possible when we all work together.”