The Penarth Learning Community, designed by HLM’s Cardiff team, has been shortlisted by the Construction Industry Council for its inaugural Inclusive Environment Award (CIC–IE).
The awards recognise buildings, places and spaces which demonstrate best practice in achieving an inclusive environment – an environment which is safe, flexible and accessible for all, and that helps raise the standard of inclusive places across the industry.
The Penarth Learning Community, one of only three projects from across the UK to be shortlisted, comprises a mainstream comprehensive school, together with a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school and respite centre. It has been designed by HLM to cater for students with a wide spectrum of learning needs, bringing together diverse learning environments in an environment that is both comfortable and functional.
This shortlisting follows a series of project accolades including Project of the Year at the Constructing Excellence in Wales Awards, Best Inclusive Building by the Local Authority Building Control Group Cymru Building Excellence Awards, as well as being shortlisted for Sustainable Project of the Year at this year’s Building Awards.
The learning community, which was built as part of the 21st Century schools investment programme, houses two schools in its main building. St Cyres Comprehensive occupies one half of the building, and features sector leading multimedia facilities, and Ysgol Y Deri occupies the other half, providing state of the art SEN provision, including hydrotherapy pools, sensory rooms, physiotherapy suites, and a fully functioning television production studio.
The one building approach allows pupils from both schools to interact and take advantage of facilities and educational curriculum opportunities on offer, resulting in a fully inclusive facility.
Gareth Woodfin, associate director and regional lead of HLM Cardiff team said:
“As a team we knew we were pushing boundaries when we designed the Penarth Learning Community, and for the design to be recognised by the industry through the Construction Industry Council is a huge compliment.
“Our education team is focused on delivering high performance learning environments and schemes that bring real overall value to the local community. This award reaffirms that we are achieving our aims and ensuring the creation of inclusive and community focused projects.”
The Penarth Learning Community also opens its facilities for use by the local community. Its modern sports facilities, including a 3G pitch, are available, as well as specialist areas for families and carers looking after adults and children with special needs.
The CIC-IE Award winner will be announced at the Construction Industry Summit Dinner on 20 September 2016, and the Building Award winners are announced on the 8 November 2016.