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St Cecilia's College

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Project Info

  • Project Category:
  • Project Name:
    St Cecilia's College
  • Client:
    St Canice’s Educational Trust/Belfast Education Services
  • Location:
    Blighs Lane, Co. Derry, BT48 9PJ, N.I.
  • Architect:
    Kennedy Fitzgerald Associates

Project Overview

This contract was to Design, Build, Finance and Operate St Cecilia’s College under PPP Procurement and is one of two schools under this contract, the second school being St Mary’s College.

The contract for the Derry Diocesan Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project provides St Mary’s College and St Cecilia’s College with new purpose-built accommodation for a total of 1,650 pupils. The contract also provides building maintenance and facilities management for the next 25 years.

The 12,500m² college located on Bligh’s Lane consisted of two wings incorporating the provision of adaptable creative space to support the college’s desire for Performing Arts status and flexible functional space to support academic excellence over an extremely broad range of curriculum subjects. The college was constructed on a north-south axis on the upper portion of the steeply sloping site. The works extended to associated external and site development along with decant facilities.

The colleges departments were allocated in the two wings as follows:

  • The two storey west facing wing houses the multi-purpose and sports halls, art, R.E and CDT departments
  • The three storey east facing wing houses general teaching, geography, history, ICT and social spaces

The expansive convex façade of this wing both articulates the main entrance and allows for excellent panoramic views to the City and Lough of the Foyle, and the Entrance Balcony, Dining Area, Meeting Rooms, Library, VIth Form Centre, Careers and Staff Room are all elevated to take advantage of this view. The wings are interlinked by a large two storey foyer space harnessing 3rd party usage, dining and performing arts facilities and enclosed walkways on two levels from which salient views are provided to inner courtyards and outer landscaped areas. The cross-section through the college exploited the steeply sloping site, stepping down from the dining area through the main entrance foyer to the lower level of the curved wing and then to the car parking, playground and netball facilities. All vehicular and pupil activity spaces are segregated for safety. A large sand mattress grass pitch, athletics facilities, tennis courts and pavilion with in-curtilege parking was created to supplement these outer play areas at Fanad Dive, in close proximity to existing council playing fields

Both wings were constructed to provide shelter against strong prevailing winds to the pastoral garden and inner courtyards

The overall philosophy for the college building was to provide a sensitive progression from the livelier vibrant multi-function foyer, close to Bligh’s Lane, through the teaching spaces to the more peaceful pastoral garden adjacent to the city cemetery. This offered a building core rich in character, variant in atmosphere and adaptable to the future needs of an evolving college within an environmentally stimulating, landscaped, collegiate setting.

Key Features

  • Very Good BREEAM rating
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework Procurement; Bespoke form of contract based on JCT 2002
  • PFI (Private Funding Initiative)
  • Site is adjacent an existing primary school & nearby houses
  • Significant amount of rock encountered on site during phase 1 which had to be broken out. Oil Contamination was also discovered resulting in the area being excavated so site treatment could be carried out
  • Facilities includes; new sports hall, grass playing pitch, synthetic running track & tennis courts with changing pavilion
  • Diversion/Installation of utilities; water, electricity, gas, underground heating & a digital telephone system was updated to the latest technical standard PSTN requirements which is capable of accepting ISDN2e lines
  • Achieved an air tightness rating of 10
  • Security systems include access controls, CCTV, intruder alarm system & a panic system is integrated into all the digital handsets
  • Solar panels with up to 4KW output were installed to pre-heat domestic hot water & act as a teaching aid. Photovoltaic panels have been installed to contribute to the electricity consumption of the building & act as a teaching aid.