Complex build puts leading contractor to the test at new South
Eastern Regional College campus in Bangor…
O’Hare & McGovern has completed an impressive mission in SPACE – the new campus for South Eastern Regional College (SERC) in Bangor.
The £12million campus, located at Castle Park Road, was officially opened by Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning, who described it as “the latest step in a journey to transform the entire physical infrastructure of the Northern Ireland Further Education sector”.
The new 3,650 m² facility, funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, provides high specification, bespoke accommodation for the Schools of Manufacturing and Electrical Engineering, Computer and Software Engineering and Performing and Creative Arts.
From the striking exterior to the high levels of innovation throughout, it is clear that O’Hare & McGovern exhausted the company’s extensive skills and expertise to deliver a unique facility.
“It was a highly complex build from start to finish but the response from staff and students has made it all worthwhile,” explained Jason Glasgow, Contracts Manager for O’Hare & McGovern. “From the materials used, the requirement to meet certain international standards, having to deal with various planning restrictions and all within a restrictive site made this a tough project. But I think the high standards we have delivered again prove the pride that O’Hare & McGovern takes into every job.”
The SPACE campus offers a diverse range of innovative facilities within the conjoined accommodation for the Schools of Manufacturing and Electrical Engineering, Computer and Software Engineering and Performing and Creative Arts.
The heart of the Performing Arts Centre is the theatre around which rehearsal and production studios are located. The theatre has all the attributes of a professional auditorium and, in addition to being suitable for staging professional productions, it provides first-class rehearsal, recording and performance facilities for the students of Bangor and the surrounding area.
The Technology Innovation Centre provides a business quality learning environment that further enhances the College’s existing capacity for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology and Engineering sciences. The focus of the Technology Centre will be on employability skills; stimulating enterprise through business incubation; delivery of innovative business development programmes; and fostering enhanced approaches to economic development, working closely with community partners.
Formerly a car-park, the SPACE campus is neighboured by apartments and Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College to either side and the rear while it is adjacent to the main SERC Bangor campus. As a result, O’Hare & McGovern had strict noise and working hours restrictions as well as a number of planning restrictions regarding the building’s design to meet.
“The site was very tight and we had very little space to manoeuvre within,” explained Jason. “It is also a very busy area with three schools along with the local council offices and the Aurora swimming pool all along the Castle Park Road, meaning we had to carefully schedule in deliveries.
“We also liaised closely with the neighbouring school and local residents to keep them informed of our work. On projects like this, communication is vital.”
Constructed from structured steel with a mixture of precast concrete floors and composite metal decking in the Performing Arts Centre, the building’s envelope was a mixture of zinc cladding and curtain walling and rock panel cladding. The roof covering was PVC.
Jason added, “The first challenge was to get the building watertight and with the various materials being used this wasn’t straightforward. Internally, we had to meet a number of specific standards, in particular the noise levels within the recording studios and the theatres, which proved a challenge.
“On every project you face a wide range of issues but the real challenge is how you effectively deal with them without it affecting your completion date. We had to have the campus finished in time for a the new academic year in September and we are delighted to have met this.
“It was an ambitious build but our strong relationship with the client and Hamilton Architects helped a great deal and we have another superb education project to be proud of.”