Work is progressing on schedule on the £3.7m Conwy Culture Centre, being built by Wynne Construction.
Based on the site of the old Bodlondeb School, next to a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site walled town, the centre includes a new library, cafÉ, arts and heritage hub, plus a new home for the county’s archive.
An innovative design means the county archive will be housed within the basement, harnessing the near-constant, cooler temperature of the surrounding earth. This will minimise energy costs, while optimising the preservation of the county's 80,000 documents and 1,000 museum artefacts. Wynne Construction’s work to date has included site clearance and excavation to reduce its overall ground level, as well as repairs and an extension to the existing stone boundary walls to Bangor Road. Following excavation of a 1,350m3 area for the basement, the Wynne team constructed a concrete lift pit, before casting a 375m2 basement slab. The 300mm thick, reinforced waterproof concrete slab was cast in a single pour.
They then constructed 113m3 of 350mm reinforced, waterproof concrete basement walls, cast in 9 metre sections. The team has since moved on to cast concrete foundations at ground floor level, and a suspended concrete ground floor slab. Steelwork, which will form the basis of the frame for the remainder of the structure, will be erected in mid to late November.
The low-lying building, with a green roof, is designed to blend into the parkland, with additional trees and landscaping. Natural materials and glass are being used wherever possible. Wynne Construction senior quantity surveyor Richard Partington said: “It's a high-profile scheme on a prominent site, so we’ve planned deliveries and activities on site to minimise disruption for motorists and the local community. It's rewarding to see this new landmark for Conwy taking shape.”
Cllr Mark Baker, Conwy's Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "We know there’s been a lot of activity since work started on site in May, but it’s really exciting to see the results of that work coming together. This development is part of modernising our services and modernising the way we work. The Centre will be a new cultural destination for Conwy County, it will offer residents and visitors better access to library, archive and heritage collections in fit-for-purpose, contemporary surroundings."
Funding includes a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund; Welsh Government Transformation Capital Grant Programme; capital funding and sale of buildings from Conwy County Borough Council; funding from the Rural Community Development Fund, and Gwynt y MÔr funding in partnership with the Conwy Arts Trust.