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Budget for new school in Monmouthshire rises to over £69 million

17 Jun 2022 3 minutes Read
An image showing how the new school could look. Picture: Rio Architects/ Monmouthshire council

Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter

A new school for pupils aged three-19 in Abergavenny is now expected to cost nearly £70 million, according to a council report.

Monmouthshire councillors will meet next week to consider the revised budget for the project, and a recommendation from officers to use council borrowing towards the extra costs.

The budget for the project, which will replace King Henry VIII and Deri View schools, was originally £43 million, but it has now risen to £69.79 million.

This is an increase of £26.79 million.

A council report says Welsh Government has confirmed its commitment to funding 67 per cent of the project, equating to about £47 million.

Monmouthshire council is contributing £22.7 million towards the new all-through school, and it will need to increase its funding by £7.7 million following the rise in costs.

Evolved

A report says that since the initial proposal in 2017, the design of the school has evolved to include provision for children with Additional Learning Needs, a wellbeing centre providing behaviour support as well as Flying Start, nursery, primary, secondary and sixth-form provision.

Planning permission has recently been granted for the school which will serve 1,900 pupils and is expected to open in 2024.

It will be built on the current site of King Henry VIII school, which will be demolished to make way for the new facilities.

The design of the new school has been ‘challenging’, with the site a collection of disparate buildings and open playing fields, the report says.

The new school will also be the first 3-19 operationally net zero carbon school in Wales.

Photovoltaics will be put on the roof and any remaining carbon will be offset by the purchase of off-site renewable energy.

Net zero carbon costs for the project are £5.17 million.

A further £500,000 will also be required for road improvements, including adaptations to the site entrances and road safety measures on Pen y Pound and Old Hereford Road.

Main school buildings

The biggest cost is for the main school buildings, costing about £62.4 million, while the special needs resource base will cost £1.75 million.

Welsh medium school Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni will move to the current site of Deri View school as part of the plans, allowing it to expand its provision.

A report adds that the disposal of the current Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni site will generate money for the council.

A council report recommending approval of the increased budget says the project has “the potential to bring significant benefits to the education community in Abergavenny and its wider cluster of schools”.

These include educational benefits, net zero carbon, improvements to transport arrangements, increased community use, an expansion of Welsh medium education and improved provision for learners with complex neurodevelopmental needs.

Councillors will consider the report at a full council meeting on Thursday, June 23.


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