Built by Anwyl Construction, the ground-breaking new Learning Centre at Deeside College’s Northop site is North Wales’s best new education building and a special slate plaque has been presented to the college to mark the accolade.
The £2.1 million centre has a range of eco-friendly features including full ground source heating, solar-powered ventilation systems, sun-pipe illumination, rainwater harvesting and a lighting system which automatically reacts to the levels of natural light and the activity in the building.
The building was voted the best new educational building for 2011 by the people whose job it is to supervise all building work: local authority building control officers from across North Wales.
It has also received a big ‘thumbs up’ from Deeside College Principal David Jones who said, “It’s a brilliant building. The work we’ve done with Anwyls to design and build it has really led to something that we’re very proud of.
“It has transformed the entrance to the college site and provides an excellent learning environment for the students that come here to Northop.
“It’s a flexible building and we’re able to make really good use of it because it also lends itself to events. We hosted a meeting of CBI Wales here and businesspeople from right across the country were really impressed by it.
“This is a gorgeous site with so much potential and the developments we have made with Anwyls are a big part of realising our vision for it. The simple test is that people are always wowed by what they see when they come onto the site and when they go into the building.”
Anwyls Director Tom Anwyl said: “We’re very pleased with how the work has gone and are delighted to have provided such an iconic building for the college.
“We have a long established relationship with Deeside College and we’re very well used to working with each other and we have previously provided specialist teaching and student facilities at Deeside College as well as the new building studies complex.
“It is very exciting to be involved in such ground-breaking work in the use of renewable technology in building but we do have considerable experience working in this field.
“We are also used to working in ecologically sensitive environments and have the range of competencies which enable us to do such high specification work.
“What we feel is really important though is that these contracts have gone to a North Wales firm so that the money will stay in the area and help consolidate jobs and the local economy.”
Project Manager for the Northop site has been Charlie Shaw and he said: “A lot of the work we have done here is very advanced, particularly in relation to the provision of renewable energy such as ground source and air source heating and buildings such as the new Learning Centre are of excellent standard.
“We had to cope with extremely cold weather when we began work which involved drilling 14 100-metre shafts for the ground source heating but it’s worked perfectly because last winter was the coldest for a long time and the heating worked perfectly.”
The building, which houses a learning zone and library as well as a cafeteria and lecture rooms, even boasts an Eco-Warrior system which gives an on-screen display of how the renewable elements of the system are performing.
Site Manager Ed Wild, from Blacon, Chester, who learned his trade as a bricklayer at Deeside College where he was Apprentice of the Year, said: “We’ve had a really good relationship on site with the College and they’ve been excellent to work with.
“It’s been very interesting work to be involved with and it has been ongoing so it has been great to see the building taking shape and then to see it in use and doing what it was built for.”
The project is one of a number of major contracts which Anwyl has been engaged in at some of North Wales’s most prestigious learning establishments, including Glyndwr University in Wrexham, Coleg Menai, Llangefni, and Llandrillo College, Rhos on Sea.