Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s £50m education, leisure and community master plan for the Ynys Site in Aberdare has reached an important milestone.
The Welsh Government has this month given the green light for the Council to do what is necessary to close Blaengwawr Comprehensive, Aberdare Girls’ and Aberdare High Schools, pending the creation of a bespoke new school on The Ynys.
Images of how the new school will look were shared with the pupils, teachers and other school staff who will eventually benefit from it – and who were consulted and have had a say in how it should be designed.
They were given the chance to shape how the school, which will have 1600 places, will look and what its layout – including open spaces, Special Education Needs rooms, drama studios, workshops, IT suites and more – should be.
This feedback has been reflected in the plans and artists’ impressions that were shared with them during a session at Michael Sobell Sports Centre last week.
The new school, set to create a modern, inspiring environment in which all young people can secure the education, skills and training they need to thrive in life, forms just a part of the development.
It will also see the creation of a modern, state-of-the-art sport and leisure centre which will focus on improvement and expansion of the existing Aberdare Pool and replacement of provision currently offered at Michael Sobell Sports Centre, which will be demolished.
The outstanding new facilities are of a standard that has never been seen before and will be used by people from Rhondda Cynon Taf and beyond, who are set to flock to use sporting provision including an eight-court sports hall, squash courts, activity studio, eight-lane, 400m athletics track and associated field sports stadium for javelin, high jump, long-jump and more.
Sports provision will also include new, associated amenities such as changing room and customer reception, grassed football pitch, full size synthetic pitch and a multi-use games area accommodating five tennis courts and other sports
There will also be wider, outdoor sporting and community facilities on the site, which will provide yet another boost to the town, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration.
Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This ambitious scheme forms part of the Council’s robust response to the issues facing our young residents today.
“They need and deserve flexible, exceptional learning environments in which they can secure the education, qualifications, vocational skills and personal development they need to thrive in whatever they choose to be in life.
“This scheme will enable us to deliver that, removing issues such as surplus places and limited curriculum options so all learners are given the best-possible opportunities.
“Of course, this development will also benefit the wider community, complementing the extensive regeneration of the town centre to ensure Aberdare has an excellent range of leisure, health, social and shopping experiences for its residents but also to attract new visitors and investors.”
The next stage of the delivery of the scheme is securing the necessary planning permission approvals.
See more images and artists' impressions in the Aberdare Campus Picture Special