Eastern Community Campus


This new £25m secondary school was built on the Cardiff and Vale College site in Trowbridge, in the east of the city. The school was completed in December 2017 and opened in January 2018, and accommodates 1,200 pupils and 320 students in post-16 education and training.  The new building replaced the former Rumney High School school as part of the 21st Century Schools programme.

  • Client Cardiff Council / Willmott Dixon
  • Completed Dec 2017
  • Budget £25m

The development of the new Eastern Community Campus at Trowbridge Road, Rumney, Cardiff, for Cardiff County Council was the culmination of several years’ hard work, by both the Council and the Contractor/ Design team.

The Council was determined to make a significant investment in the local community to replace the existing Eastern High School, which had reached the end of its usable life and could no longer provide an appropriate learning environment for the pupils. The school was suffering from low pupil attendance, vandalism and significant academic achievement challenges.

A significant part of the brief for the new school was focussed on maximising the community benefit of the new building, to provide facilities that could be used flexibly and safely by both the pupils and the local community, thus engaging the local community in the teaching and learning of their children. The design responded to the brief in providing other opportunities for community participation and wellbeing, by allowing sporting, gym and community rooms to be easily sectioned from the teaching areas and used by community groups out of hours.

The school fronts the street, opening onto a welcoming public “plaza” – it was a deliberate design decision not to fully enclose the school frontage with security fencing, which it was felt would isolate the school from the community. The plaza therefore opens up the school to the local community and encourages participation in its activities. The school building itself provides an impressive street frontage and forms part of the secure boundary line, that in turn ensures that the playing fields and other outdoor activities can be used safely by the pupils at all times.

The school building itself is designed as a two-storey “super-block” with three double height spaces within the centre of the building at the heart of the concept. The sports hall forms a separate wing, linked to the main school building via changing rooms, to allow for easy out of hours separation.

Common facilities such as the Main Assembly Hall, Music and Drama are located in the centre of the building, between the double-height spaces. The three double height spaces provide multi-functional, flexible zones incorporating circulation zones, which makes the available space “work hard” by performing a number of functions.

The first double height space is experienced on entering the building, and is separated from the rest of the school by secure door lines. This allows the public/parents to enter the school whilst safeguarding pupil safety. Parents, staff and pupils can therefore interact under supervision and the secure lines ensure non-school visitors cannot proceed deeper into the school. The space contains a small shop/café facility open to all.

This space also acts as the access point for the community to use the adjacent sports hall, outside of normal school hours and under the supervision of school management. In addition, the community can access the assembly hall and music facilities out of hours by arrangement, expanding even further the community access options.

The third double-height zone contains the school library/LRC, with study spaces at two levels and located in the more “private” area of the school allowing quiet self-directed learning and study.

“The new Eastern Community Campus building has provided a fantastic lift for us all.   The building has enriched learning across all subject areas and enabled us to put in practice innovative and effective teaching and learning practice. Extensive passive supervision and well thought out circulation spaces have led to a calm environment for our pupils who have been inspired to achieve since moving in”.   

This is the fourth new school building I have moved in to and I have to say that this is undoubtably the best yet in terms of the well thought out use of space and quality of build.”   

The school Head Teacher, Armando Di_Finizio

“Cardiff Council are extremely delighted with the new Eastern High school. Through Wilmot Dixon and Powell Dobson we have created a truly innovative campus, offering a learning environment fit for the 21st Century, with state-of-the-art facilities also available for the wider community to enjoy. It includes flexible learning spaces that can be configured for a variety of uses, and the very latest in science and IT facilities. The process of design and working with the architects and construction team was fast paced and effective, and it was felt that we truly worked as one team with a common goal.”

Operations Manager for the Schools Development Programme at Cardiff City Council, Rachel Smith


RICS Awards 2019

Winner of the Community Benefit Award 2019

LABC Awards 2019

Best Educational Building (as part of the Willmott Dixon team)