A team of water management experts has come up with a plan to safeguard a £10.5 million new primary school site and local homeowners from the risk of flooding.
Ruthin-based Waterco didn’t have far to go for one of their latest major contracts – Denbighshire County Council’s flagship new primary school is being built just a few hundred yards from their offices.
It will replace the site currently used by Rhos Street School and Ysgol Penbarras and is due to open in the Spring of 2018 as part of the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme being delivered in partnership with the Welsh Government and will offer students modern, state-of-the-art facilities.
The site posed a number of challenges following flooding in 2012 which affected nearby homes.
Now a sophisticated plan developed by the Waterco team on behalf of the Council for the Glasdir school site and carried out by main contractors Wynne Construction, from Rhuddlan, will allay fears of further flooding.
Senior Civil Engineer Chris Lewis has led the Waterco team which used advanced modelling techniques to predict flood risks and to alleviate them.
He said: “As a local firm we’re well aware that there has been a lot of concern about the flood risk.
“We were asked by the Council to address this from the point of view of the new school but the recommendations which Wynne have followed mean that we have also reduced the risk to the homes on Glasdir.
“We have raised the level of the new school, which was already above the flood risk level, by between one and two metres and introduced measures so that in the worst case scenario the water would run off onto the nearby playing fields and to areas on the site before gradually dispersing naturally.
“This would mean that rather than flooding the houses on Glasdir the flood water would be held there.
“That was the critical part of our job – to make sure that the measures we designed to protect the school weren’t creating a flood risk for anyone else and we’re confident we have achieved that.”
Waterco tested their flood risk management and drainage scheme through hydraulic modelling carried out by specialist Bethan Lloyd Jones and Director Pedr Jones said: “Modelling has shown that the Glasdir school site will remain flood free during a range of low-likelihood flood events and considered the blockage of local structures in accordance with Welsh Planning Policy.
“It’s important to companies like ours that their council supports them by using them because it helps us to develop and to demonstrate the sort of high quality skills we have.”
Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, visited the scheme and he said: “We are committed to providing fit for purpose education facilities for our children and young people and I am delighted to see work progressing on this school which will be a superb facility for students.
“It was important to us a Council to get this development right and ensure the flood risk was reduced, not only for the school but also for the surrounding area.
“Working with local businesses on projects like this contributes towards a prosperous Denbighshire – to increase employment, support development of skills and grow SMEs in order to positively impact the local economy.
“This project is demonstrating through the use of a local supply chain, how large capital projects funded by Denbighshire County Council and Welsh Government are contributing towards a prosperous Wales.
“Construction is much more than just delivering buildings on time and budget but also about involving the community and maximising the economic benefits from the investment through training, recruitment, upskilling and support in kind. It is about creating opportunities for future generations in the region.
“This project will not only deliver benefits to the residents of Ruthin and the surrounding area, but it is also helping developing the local economy, creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs by supporting local businesses like Waterco and Wynne Construction.”
Chris Wynne, Managing Director of Wynne Construction, said: “The Glasdir project is progressing well and achieving positive results with regards to delivering community benefits for the scheme.
“Working in partnership with our local SME supply chain, currently 71 per cent of the project spend has been placed with companies situated within 30 miles of the Ruthin site, and 75 per cent of the workforce live in North Wales, creating sustainability and safeguarding local jobs.
“In addition, to date, eight apprentices working in various trades, have been employed on the project and a number of new jobs created, taking young people out of unemployment. We are very pleased with these results so far.”
For a sneak preview of what the new schools at Glasdir will look like go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDQdbUTgv6U&t=34s