”Let’s have a selfie then!” enthuses Kim, Willmott Dixon’s liaison officer, and our tour group of local college trainees duly oblige.
Luckily the infamous Welsh weather has held off (for now) as we stand atop Eastern High School, allowing the students from Newport’s Coleg Gwent College to check out the plant room and solar panels while surveying the impressive sports pitches below.
Willmott Dixon is about halfway through a 78-week programme on Cardiff’s new £26.4m school, having started on site in June last year.
Open Doors 2017 Willmott Dixon Eastern High School 4
“Things are progressing smoothly so far,” according to management trainee Sam Withers as he leads the tour around the sprawling site.
The touring trainees are studying the likes of carpentry, engineering and joinery, and Sam is quick to point out areas of interest for them across the build.
The insight is clearly welcome: “It’s a really good thing to see how things are done on an actual building site – it’s more exciting to see it first hand,” one of the tour group remarks.
Open Doors 2017 Willmott Dixon Eastern High School 9
One point of interest is the set of lifts already installed. After a few educated guesses from the students about what makes them interesting, Sam explains they were made off site from precast concrete and assembled on site in just one day soon after the foundations were completed.
Eastern High School will cater for 1,500 pupils once operational, replacing the existing nearby school of the same name. The local students are clearly taken aback by the school’s scale and quality, not least the four 3G pitches under construction – all “top of the range”, Sam points out.
Open Doors 2017 Willmott Dixon Eastern High School 13
The accompanying college teachers are equally impressed, asking many questions of the Willmott team and learning about some new approaches along the way.
It turns out this is the second fully booked tour Coleg Gwent College has come on this week – and it doesn’t stop there.
Sam explains how not only is this an opportunity to give the trainees a taste of a live site, it also offers a path towards organising some work experience for them in the future.
Project: Eastern High School / CAVC
Contractor: Willmott Dixon
Client: Cardiff Council
Start date: June 2016
Completion date: December 2018
Open Doors 2017 Willmott Dixon Eastern High School Entrance CGI