Latest photos of the new Fitzalan High School as construction progresses well

These photos show how construction work is progressing well at the new Fitzalan High School in Cardiff. The three-story building has now reached its full height.

The £64million project is the largest of the 21st Century Schools Project with funding from Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government. The students will move in in April 2023 when the old Fitzalan School building from the late 1960s is demolished.

The framework for the new school is now in place, clearly showing the massive hall which has capacity for whole school assemblies with a capacity of 1,8050 students and staff.

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The building includes flexible workspaces with movable partitions

The site will include outdoor learning areas, a reconstruction of a WWI trench, polythene tunnels for gardening, an amphitheater and beehives

Surrounding this core of the 17,730 square foot building are a canteen and classrooms, science labs and music studios that ascend to all three floors. Skylights and large windows have been designed to let in light. There are vents for natural ventilation, wide hallways and open learning spaces.

Special features include an “immersion studio” where surround sound and images can be projected onto walls to mimic experiences for students such as aquariums, castles and other places they might not visit .

Sports facilities include a 25-foot four-lane swimming pool, 4G courts, multi-purpose sports courts and a large hall.

A WW1 amphitheater and trench are being built for outdoor learning and there will be poly tunnels, garden areas and beehives.

For vocational learning, there will be electronics and construction learning areas. The canteen includes an outdoor seating area and mixed and single-sex toilets on each floor. Solar panels on the roof will help the building generate electricity.

“We are building more than a school, we are creating life opportunities for students and the community,” Ms Kemp said.

The outdoor space will include 4G sports courts, an amphitheater, a WWI re-enactment and poly tunnels for gardening

Fitzalan Deputy Principal Jo Kemp said staff and students were eager to move in describing the current building as “end of life”. She said some windows are falling, some won’t open, there is external flooding, leaks and 12 boilers, some of which are failing. Hallways are narrow and crowded and there can be issues with wifi.

“We are building more than a school, we are creating life opportunities for students and the community,” Ms Kemp said.

“We want to eliminate outdoor flooding, dodgy Wi-Fi, falling windows, leaks and lack of toilets in the old building.

“A new building can support education and learning, but is not a solution. Our relationships and culture, we believe, are fair and the education we provide. In building this new school, we wanted to take the best bits of what we already had and get a building to match. Our old building is at the end of its life and we are hanging on for another year.

Ms Kemp joined Wales Education Minister Jeremy Miles, Cardiff Council Leader Huw Thomas, pupils and representatives of construction company Keir at a completion ceremony to mark the building reaching its climax.

Wasif Mahmood, 13, said he was excited about the new school building which will open in spring 2023

Sadika Meah, who left Fitzalan in 2015, is responsible for the graduate design of the project carried out by the construction company Keir

The building is designed to let in light

Eighth grader Wasif Mahmood, 13, was one of the students who got involved as an ambassador asking other students what they wanted in the new building.

He said he was looking forward to moving into the school next year.

“Sometimes during class the wifi doesn’t work now. I just want everything to work. I’m thrilled with the new school,” he said.

Ninth-grader and fellow ambassador Sasha McGonigle, 13, said pieces of the old building were “falling off”.

“I can’t wait for everything to be fresh, new, and better facilities. At the moment, my science room doesn’t have a lab, so we can’t do experiments often.

“Some of the taps don’t work and when people see litter around they may think it doesn’t matter. It will be nice to have a school building that we can be proud of.

“I think it will make people more excited about going to school.”

Fitzalan pupil Sasha McGonigle, 13, hopes the new building will entice people to come to school

Maya Velani, 17, is in her last year of school in Fitzalan and regrets not being there to move in.

The A-level student, who is waiting to find out if she will be accepted to study medicine at Cardiff University, said good facilities can help education.

“It’s amazing to come and see it all come together.

“I’m disappointed not to be here to enjoy it. The environment plays an important role. One of the things I think we really wanted was an outside canteen seating area and new labs and science facilities.

Former students are among those who helped build the new school with construction company Keir carrying out the work. Graduate Design Manager Sadika Meah, who left Fitzalan in 2015 and went on to do a Civil Engineering degree at Swansea University and a Masters at Cardiff University, started the Fitzalan project four weeks ago .

“It’s amazing because I feel like I’ve come full circle. It’s great that my first project is here. At the first team meetings I saw Ms. Kemp and it was like if my education and my career had come full circle. It’s exciting.”

Keir said he is committed to using local suppliers within a 30-mile radius where he can and has also set up a training center to give local people a chance to get work experience and a training. Some got full-time jobs on the project.

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