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O'Hare & McGovern

Our Lady & St Patrick’s College

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
  • Project Name:
    Our Lady & St Patrick’s College
  • Client:
    Belfast Education Services
  • Location:
    120 Gilnahirk Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT5 7DL, N.I.
  • Architect:
    Kennedy Fitzgerald Associates assisted by 3D Reid

Project Overview

This contract was to Design, Build, Finance and Operate a new 15000m² Grammar School for approximately 1,260 pupils with associated site works.

The PPP/PFI operator (Belfast Educational Services) provides maintenance personnel and caretaking staff to look after the College buildings and grounds, while the cleaning of the building and catering service is managed by the College. We, as the PPP provider and Main Contractor constructed the new premises and outdoor facilities to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff by meeting all Building Control Regulations and Health and Safety Guidelines.

New features at the school include eleven science laboratories, specialist art classrooms, a drama studio and an assembly hall with seating for 750 people. A fully equipped music department contains performance rooms and a recording studio, while all classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards.

The building was designed to be fully compliant with disability legislation and the school works in consultation with parents and outside agencies to make appropriate arrangements for pupils and visitors with disabilities. 

The site severely falls from the boundary of a Primary School to the South at level 106m to the GAA pitch at level 83m metres giving a change in level across the site of 23m with an average cross-fall of circa 1:13.

The school is on a hillside overlooking the City of Belfast and Stormont Castle. It is in the middle of an extensively residential area in the South East of Belfast, with a Primary School to the Southern boundary and housing to the other three, therefore the development had to be sensitive to the neighbouring properties in terms of scale and distance.

The existing spasmodic campus arrangement includes, single, two and three storey buildings, with limited outdoor social space as most of the flat, hard spaces have been filled with temporary classrooms.

The impressive convex frontage to the College has the greatest physical presence of any element on the site as the gentle curve provides visual articulation to the main entrance foyer which is situated in the centre of the wing and connects the general teaching accommodation to the multi-function spaces in the street at the heart of the College. The entrance to this foyer is visible from the main public road, and contains 2 storeys high curtain wall glazed façade. This main point of arrival provides a great feeling of space and light whether viewed during the daytime when the whole space is brightly lit to give signature to the College.

Key Features

  • Best Kept Post-Primary School Award; June 2011
  • Very Good BREEAM rating (additional credits for being proactive in the management of BREEAM)
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework Procurement; including ITN and BAFO, followed by negotiation to financial & contractual close
  • PFI (Private Funding Initiative)
  • Live site as school remained in operation
  • Very restricted site, steeply sloping site with limited access within a predominately residential area
  • Demolition of existing school with the construction of car parks, playing surfaces & access roads
  • Phased construction was carried out with temporary classrooms provided
  • Facilities includes; floodlit synthetic grass pitch, full size GAA pitch, basketball & tennis courts
  • Teaching spaces fitted with fans to control CO2 levels & night-time cooling system. Carried out Utilities Utilisation Targets to measure the efficiency of the building throughout its life & to improve the performance of the building.