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O'Hare & McGovern

South West Regional College

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
    Further Education
  • Project Name:
    South West Regional College
  • Client:
    Belfast Educational Services
  • Location:
    2 Mountjoy Road, Omagh, Co.Tyrone, BT79 7AH, N.I.
  • Architect:
    Samuel Stevenson & Sons

Project Overview

The Omagh College is one of two Colleges of Further Education which were combined to form a single procurement project under the Department for Employment and Learning’s Public Private Partnerships. The project involved the Design, Build, Finance and Operation of both Omagh and Dungannon Further Education Colleges. 

Omagh College is a completely new facility extending to approximately 15,400sqm designed for 1,500 full time and 5,000 part time students on the site of the former college at Mountjoy Road in Omagh. The original facility was wholly inadequate in meeting the requirements of the College. To address this, the new building needed to be multi-storey and had to occupy an area of the site that allowed Strule House, the existing main teaching block, to remain temporarily, supported by a number of port-a-cabins and a temporary dining room and kitchen. These temporary measures and the transfer off-site of the Industrial Workshops to alternative accommodation enabled the College to remain operational on the same site throughout the construction period.  

In phasing the new works to account for this, the College was able to decant into the new building allowing the remaining buildings to be demolished and the new car park constructed with the minimum of disruption. 

The College comprises of three schools of teaching namely; The School of Entry Education, Health & Creative Studies; The School of Computing and Professional Studies and the School of Industry Training and Technology. The College Management and Administration is the central spine of the scheme which provides generous communal facilities for open learning, conference and training rooms, a lecture theatre and both a commercial and training restaurant.

The plan form adopted for the new College is very logical and clear with all general classrooms and ‘quiet’ classes such as Child Care being located in the west wing overlooking the river. The ‘noisy’ and more technical classes such as plumbing and electrical are located in the north wing and the adjacent workshops next to the busy road junction where noise intrusion is not an issue. Finally the curved block, with a double height concourse, acting as a hub to the whole College, links the two wings together and houses most of the support services and administrative areas with a few training facilities that are used by the public such as Beauty Therapy and Hair Dressing. The design also pays attention to other facilities in the vicinity including the new Arts Theatre on the opposite bank of the river. As part of the riverside development a new footbridge links the new buildings on opposite sides of the river with a new public space planned to ensure a seamless connection between both.

The building is designed not only as a Further Education College but also as a community facility open to the public for both formal teaching and public events as well as informal use such as dining or using the hair and beauty salons. The Learning Resource Centre and Multi-Purpose Hall are planned in order to allow for ‘out of hours’ use and life-long learning in addition to the well-supported Community Outreach Centre.

Key Features

  • Design & Build
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework Procurement; Bespoke form of contract based on JCT 2002
  • PFI (Private Funding Initiative)
  • Site is based in the town centre; adjacent businesses & nearby houses
  • Decant accommodation was provided to ensure there was no disruption to teaching. Temporary car parking was provided for staff & pupils
  • Occupied live & restricted site
  • Adjacent Strule River; Footbridge entry constructed
  • Facilities includes; Crèche, conference/training rooms, lecture theatres, an Adult Learning Centre, library, offices, workshops, administration suites, a Performance Studio, IT rooms, Production & Training Kitchen, a Bar, reception areas, laboratories & a Community Outreach Centre
  • Wood Chip Biomass Boiler installed providing up to 40% of the colleges energy requirements at peak times
  • Energy Management Systems fitted in all rooms