For public sector construction projects, moving from concept designs to the final phase of development requires close collaboration between multiple partners, especially when it comes to unlocking further public funding. Bridgend College’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy is a case in point.
The innovative facility, within Bridgend College’s Pencoed campus, aims to develop further employment and training opportunities in the region. It’s an ambitious project, which we got involved with from the very start.
Bridgend College initially required strategic advice regarding its 120-acre landholding, and its property requirements flowing from sustainability issues.
We founded a steering group, with our trusted network of professionals, which was instrumental in helping the college develop a new strategy that would unlock much needed public funding and oversee the development of the Academy.
Funding secured included £20m Grant Funding from Welsh Government – helping Bridgend college become the first further education college in Wales to receive funding from the 21st Century Schools Fund under Band B – and a £10m loan from Welsh Government through an application under the Transactions Loan Fund.
Our commercial property experts also resolved all land and development issues that could have blocked delivery of the Academy. This included supporting the opportunity for future land sale on adjacent land, that would help repay the Welsh Government loan.
Now under construction, the STEAM Academy is due to be completed in 2021. It’s a flagship for showcasing 21st Century learning, bringing economic and cultural growth to the Bridgend area.
Andrew Gibbs, Vice Principal of Resources at Bridgend College, said:
“I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the excellent service you’ve provided to date. It’s been a revelation that you have been so easily accessible and we have not had to chase for responses, also we are pleased with the excellent quality of your work which is obviously based on a good understanding of the issues we have faced.”
Leanne O’Brien, head of the Real Estate Division at Capital Law, said:
“Working closely with Bridgend College on the STEAM Academy, from conception, has been really exciting. The complexity of the project called for collaboration – that’s why our property, construction, finance and education teams joined forces, and why we used our network to introduce the relevant funding experts when needed.
“Seeing construction start on site for this impressive facility is a fantastic moment for all involved in making this ambitious scheme a reality, and I look forward to seeing it boost employment and training opportunities in the region when it opens its doors.”
Present at the breaking of the ground ceremony, Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams said:
“I was delighted to attend the start of construction at the brand-new STEAM Academy at Bridgend College.
“This project has received just under £20 million in support through our 21st Century schools programme – we want to ensure learners have access to a range of courses and facilities which meet their needs and this facility will help to support this.
“The further education sector is crucial to our capacity to deliver our commitments and I look forward to the project’s successful completion.”