No stranger to educational projects, Ganson Building & Civil Engineering was the perfect choice to lead the construction team on a new, state-of-the-art primary school in Rostrevor.
The build consisted of a traditional build 7-classroom school on the site of the previous Convent of Mercy Primary School, along with the construction of a new youth club building, sports hall, community and games room, and ancillary accommodation.
Construction of a new stair and lift extension to the rear of the convent building and the provision of new car parking facilities and playgrounds also made up part of Ganson’s brief.
Before construction of the new £3.9million facility could kick off, the existing school had to be demolished. Once the site was cleared, Contracts Manager Gerard McClelland and the rest of the team at Ganson started work on what was to prove a challenging yet rewarding project for the company.
“We’ve completed a significant number of schools over the years, so we know what we’re doing when it comes to educational projects. We encountered a few new challenges on St Bronagh’s which were a first for us and will no doubt stand us in good stead going forward,” said Gerard. One of these challenges was the colony of bats that had taken up residence in the school that was set for demolition. A specialist was called in to rehouse the bats and ensure they weren’t left homeless once space was made for the new school. Special ‘bat’ boxes were built by Ganson in nearby trees, which proved a big hit with the flying mammals.
Ganson spent 14 months on site and completed the new school ahead of the new school term beginning.
A major aspect of the build which had the potential to disrupt the tight timeline was the different-sized classrooms or ‘pods’, a job that called for Ganson’s expertise in this sector.
“The design called for seven pods at different heights, which wasn’t an easy job. We had to ensure the architect’s designs were rigorously adhered to and to make sure that vision was achieved, we communicated each step with all teams involved at every stage. Health and safety was also a huge consideration. Our dedicated safety spokesperson was Lyndsey Thompson who did an excellent job at ensuring health and safety regulations were adhered to at all times.”
Fire certification for each pod was also a challenge, but thanks to Ganson’s methodical approach to the build, all classrooms meet the required fire safety standards. Working over the winter months made putting the roof on difficult.
“We had a lot of very wet weather over the course of the build, and even more so when we were working on the roof! We couldn’t let the rain delay us so we made sure we stuck to the schedule.
The weather also gave us extra work in terms of protecting every element of the exposed build but that was something we’re used to, so it didn’t present us with a problem.”
A host of sustainable elements means pupils won’t be forced to huddle beside the radiators for warmth during the winter months. Insulation levels are extremely high and will make a huge difference to the school’s heating bills. PV panels on the green roof will also make an impact on running costs.
Getting the acoustics right on the project was also key to the school’s success. Hush Acoustics, a company that specialises in sound control products, was brought on board to ensure each pod was soundproofed correctly. Every aspect of the build, from ecological considerations and insulation to acoustics, was given the utmost attention by Ganson whose collaborative approach ensured a successful build.
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