Northern Ireland’s first shared education campus opened its doors in September, following completion of a complex £7.8m project by main contractor Woodvale Construction Company.
Upgrading finishes and M&E in the existing buildings of Limavady and St Mary’s high schools, the new Limavady Shared Education Campus (LSEC) also added extensions totalling 5,400sqft across the two neighbouring sites.
The project was delivered under a NEC 3 Engineering and Construction Contract, Option B with priced bill of quantities (BOQ).
The pioneer project in the Department for Education’s Shared Education Campuses Programme launched in 2014, LSEC was awarded Fresh Start Programme funding in 2016.
Ground was broken in April 2021, with classes and activities for 1,400 students ongoing amid the construction project.
Further complicating the timeline and logistics was a mid-project visit by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of the 25th anniversary Good Friday Agreement celebrations.
Woodvale rose to the challenge, with an innovative, multiphase build managed by Contracts Manager Emmett Teggart. “This was a complex scheme delivered over six phases, working in close proximity to staff and pupils,” said Emmett.
Our site management team and staff excelled in delivering the works on time, to budget and to the highest quality, all whilst understanding the day-to-day pressures faced by the principals across both schools.
“We kept in close contact with the principals on a weekly basis, ensuring they were updated on programme and if there were any works that may potentially affect their management activities.
“Credit is also due to our long-standing supply chain for their work throughout the project, but none more so than in their efforts to prepare for the unexpected visit from Hillary Clinton.” Woodvale’s work programme was adapted to prepare for the ceremony. Numerous meetings were held with the Secret Service to facilitate the visit by an “important visitor”.
Hard landscaped areas were prepared for the unveiling of the ceremonial benches. The inspection unearthed a forgotten time capsule in the roof eaves, which had to be x-rayed and returned to its hiding place to be opened in 2030.
Hamilton Architects designed the campus, with a new, shared entrance area and facilities. The six phases were split between the two campuses and included a new learning support centre; shared sixth form careers, drama, media campus; technology room refurbishments; STEM centre, science and technology classroom refurbishment; and new admin offices and a boardroom.
Segregated construction works prioritised health and safety, with Woodvale achieving its target of zero accidents on site. The site team was managed by Wesley Lindsay and Alan Heaney, who both worked closely with the school principals to minimise pupil disruption at all times.
Managing the project budget created further complexity, with Woodvale Quantity Surveyor Pauric Kelly essentially running two projects with separate BOQs for the clients representing each school, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and Controlled Schools’ Support Council.
Winner of the CEF Social Value Project of the Year 2022, Woodvale reinforced its commitment to supporting local communities during the LSEC project, donating coats, hats, gloves and scarfs to the Limavady Social Supermarket.
And its efforts to maintain community relations during works in a busy town centre were recognised with an Excellent Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) score of 43 for the project.
Rita Moore of St Mary’s Limavady and Darren Mornin of Limavady High School said, “Woodvale Construction is a company who understand how schools work. They made every effort to ensure teaching and learning was uninterrupted and even found ways to manage school buses arriving on site.”
For the full feature on Limavady Shared Education Campus, check out NI Builder issue 34-5 Oct-Nov here.