Enniskillen Model Primary School’s new-build facility delivered by Woodvale Construction Company (WCC) retains the character of the original, 19th century school building while boosting and future-proofing its accommodation for generations of pupils to come.
The new, 3.142sqm design has incorporated the former red brick schoolhouse, a historically important Grade B1 listed building, built some 150 years ago. A traditionally designed scheme, the project incorporates a contemporary colourfully rendered canopy.
WCC constructed a new-build 14-classroom primary school complete with administration block and offices. The building houses a private courtyard, multipurpose hall, speech and language department, and school meals accommodation. Services installed included: natural gas, BMS controls, underfloor heating and rainwater collection systems.
Restoration of the Listed building (which houses the office suite) was linked to the new school via a glazed corridor.
The project was constructed to BREEAM Very Good accreditation and delivered 344 employment weeks to apprentices, placement students and unemployed people from the local community.
The WCC team faced a number of challenges along the way including: extremely wet ground conditions, labour shortage, Brexit supply chain issues and materials knock-on impacts due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The pandemic itself impacted the schedule, as did implementation of Covid-19 safe work practices.
The usual Listed Building constraints added to the challenging schedule as WCC worked to heritage building regulations and accommodated inspections of works and site visits.
Phase two of the project was conducted in a live school environment, which naturally impacted site work. The busy county town location also required a well-managed traffic management and pedestrian access system.
Reflecting on the project, Shane McCullagh MCIOB, Site Manager commented, “While the project had its challenges, the new school building has successfully integrated a state-of-the-art design while maintaining the integrity of the original listed features.” Shane formed a great relationship with the teachers and pupils, getting involved in activities such as designing site safety posters and a time capsule burial.
Emmett Teggart MCIOB, Contracts Manager for WCC added, “The design team and client worked collaboratively with Woodvale when the Covid pandemic stalled works. Everyone pulled together to get back to site as soon as the Public Health guidelines allowed.”
Commenting on the completed building, Pauric Kelly, Quantity Surveyor for WCC, said, “The success of the project lies largely with the excellent collaboration with our dedicated and long-serving supply chain.”
Winston Glass, Principal of Enniskillen Model Primary School was full of praise for the main contractor and supply chain. He said, “Due to the nature of the project and the complexities of building in close proximity to a functioning school, Woodvale ensured that good communication lines were maintained. They worked extremely closely with me on all matters in relation to the completion of the project – phases 1 and 2. This often involved staff and parents who were given adequate notice in relation to any required changes e.g., with the movement of traffic and occasional closure of sections of the site.
“The building has received much positive feedback. The red brick façade of both the old and new has enhanced the site considerably, which until now looked derelict and run down.”
Realisation of a long held vision
Commenting on the completed project, Mark McAloon, Project Manager (Major Capital Works) for EANI said, “It has been a fulfilling experience for the Education Authority to perform the lead role of both project sponsor and client-side project manager. The organisation is proud to deliver a state-of-the-art building while ameliorating the existing characteristics. The successful delivery represents the realisation of a long-held vision into reality, which will undoubtedly stand the test of time for the children of the Fermanagh area to cherish and enjoy.”
For the full article on Enniskillen Model Primary School, please see NIBuilder issue 33-2 Apr-May: