The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, officially opened Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's multimillion pound learning centre today which is part of the Pentref Addysg @ Glynllifon (PA@G) development.
Situated on the Glynllifon Campus of Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor (which is now part of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai), the innovative Learning Centre enables a broad range of vocational land-based courses to be offered in contemporary facilities, ensuring the very best for learners, business and the local economy.
The First Minister was welcomed by Dr Ian Rees, the Principal of Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, Glyn Jones OBE, CEO of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Hedd Pugh, Board Member and the Group's Vice Chair of the Corporation, Dr Griff Jones. Guests included Assembly Members, senior College personnel and key educational, business and community stakeholders. The Grŵp Honorary President, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, was also present at the opening. After unveiling the plaque and being given a tour of the building, the First Minister met with students studying a range of courses at Glynllifon.
The First Minister of Wales said:
"I am delighted that we have been able to support the construction of this Learning Centre. The facilities are truly first class, and place the Campus as one of the very best in the country for land-based courses.
"It was a pleasure to speak and meet students who are benefitting from these first class surroundings. It is especially pleasing to note its recent regional LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Building Excellence Award, and I am sure that the PA@G will be a strong contender in the All-Wales finals later this year."
The new Learning Centre opened its doors to hundreds of new students in September 2011. Offering state-of-the-art facilities for students studying Land-based courses, the PA@G is the second phase of a £10.3 million development on the Campus, which has already seen an upgrading of hostel facilities for residential students.
This second phase cost £7.6 million and was 95% funded by the Welsh Government. The PA@G building has been designed to the highest possible environmental standards, in keeping with the local environment. It comprises a new build teaching block designed to meet BREEAM Excellent standards. The building is sited adjacent to a special area of conservation and one of the largest roosts for lesser horseshoe bats in Europe. Measure have been actioned to positively impact on the biodiversity of the site and to mitigate any possible detrimental effect on the bat population.
As Glyn Jones, Group CEO explained:
"The completed PA@G project uses the latest sustainable construction and renewable energy technology. These include a wood biomass boiler using the College's own chipped wood sourced from forests on the Campus, solar hot water, photo-voltaic panels for electricity generation, a rainwater harvester system and a natural ventilation system instead of air-conditioning. The building also has high levels of thermal efficiency, is cedar-clad and has a green roof system.
"The completed PA@G project is a striking eco-building with the "wow" factor! It provides students with state-of-the-art learning facilities, a lecture theatre, dedicated IT suites, two purpose-built Animal Study centres, and kitchens and workrooms for the Independent Living Skills Department. It represents the College's commitment to further developing the land-based facilities in the area, investing in the rural economy and moving towards creating the first truly 'green' campus in the country."
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