St Patrick’s Primary School, New Lodge was created through the amalgamation of Edmund Rice Boys’ with Star of the Sea Girls’ schools in September 2013, and for many years faced the logistical headache of operating from two separate sites. Woodvale Construction provided the solution with a Design & Build purpose-built, 21-classroom primary school, which includes two multi-purpose halls, a separate dining hall, a school meals kitchen and stores.
The construction design consists of a series of interlocking building spaces of differing height and levels. These wrap around and provide enclosure to the main outdoor playground space. The traditional, red-brick appearance is broken up by areas of white render and rainscreen cladding, which – along with the mono-pitch standing seam zinc-clad roofs – provide a contemporary twist.
The lower ground floor consisted of substantial concrete retaining structure which had to be tanked and waterproofed to accommodate lower ground level classrooms, teaching spaces and multipurpose hall. The build programme was complex, the site constrictions and limited access necessitated the building to be constructed in three parts in order to maintain access to the local road.
The BREEAM Excellent school sits on an exceptionally restricted site, with compact terraced housing in very close proximity. To build good community relations, Site Manager, Dermot Corrigan, hosted information meetings to inform residents of the programme of works, while a pupils’ site safety poster brightened the site hoarding. The company undertook noise and vibration monitoring throughout the project to ensure environment and council requirements were adhered to.
The biggest challenge, however, lay beneath the school. Running underneath is a dam with a culvert and four overflows. The new school has been built on the banks of the dam, and following extensive groundworks and pipework, the culvert was redirected.
The agreed planning ridge height limited the floor-to-ceiling height of the building, compressing the M&E services. This required a high-level M&E coordination to install.
Commenting on the completed job, Dermot said, “There is a buzz of excitement from the pupils and staff as they explore their new school building; the positive reaction is fantastic.”
He praised the efforts of the supply chain, “We have a proven reliable subcontract team and we pull together in times of adversity (eg Covid) to deliver a fantastic building to the client.”
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