Proposal to turn school building into Welsh language education immersion unit
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
A proposal to turn a building at Machynlleth’s Ysgol Bro Hyddgen into a base for an immersive Welsh language education unit has been submitted to Powys County Council (PCC).
Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, who is also a school governor at Bro Hyddgen has put forward proposals on what future uses could be made of current sixth form building known as, Canolfan Hyddgen.
A statutory notice has just been published taking forward the proposal by the council of changing the school’s language category status to Welsh medium.
Long-standing plans for a new school building were agreed last year and the project which will cost a total of £48.25 million will also include a new library and leisure centre replacing the current Bro Dyfi Leisure Centre.
Cllr Vaughan said: “With the new school this building will be surplus to requirement.
“Hence, we have been considering new alternative uses.
“The proposal is to make it a base for a range of Welsh medium projects/services all under one roof thus providing synergy and complementarity.”
Cllr Vaughan listed several options for the building which include: the immersion language unit, a base of University of Wales Welsh learning courses and a possible home for Menter Iaith Cymru and Menter Maldwyn.
The recent move to change the language category of the school has run into criticism from people who oppose the school switching to Welsh medium education.
Cllr Vaughan believes having a unit of specialist Welsh language education on site would calm the troubled waters and answer any concerns that parents have.
He added: “This would ensure a clear identity for the building, it is so well placed to serve a large area of North Powys, Gwynedd and Ceredigion and could prove to be a base for a cluster of complementary initiatives.”
A PCC spokesman said “We are aware that Cllr Vaughan has submitted a proposal for the future use of Canolfan Hyddgen in Machynlleth as a Welsh language centre and immersion unit, and this will be considered as part of the on-going developments at the school.”
The current sixth form building was opened by former First Minister of Wales, the late Rhodri Morgan back in 2009, and is one of the first Passivhaus eco-friendly buildings in the country.
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