A £44 million project to construct a new school at Drumpellier Park has reached completion.
St Ambrose High School has been built on Townhead Road and replaces a previous facility which was located on Blair Road. St Ambrose High School is a co-educational Roman Catholic school catering for pupils from stages S1 – S6 and in addition to replacing the former site it also houses Drumpark Secondary School as well as a number of community facilities.
Earlier in the year staff and pupils – including School Leader Nicole Mulholland, House Leader Jaskaran Singh and Sixth-Year Pupil Michael Vallely – were given a tour of the building whilst work was still taking place on the site. The pupils were very impressed with the work, describing it as ‘amazing’ and ‘huge compared to the current building’, which gave a good indication of how well the building was shaping up.
Commenting on the new school, Head Teacher Ellen Douglas, said:
“It really looks amazing and it’s hard to single out one favourite space as there are improvements across the board.
“Once you get inside the building you really appreciate the scale of the place.”
“We’ve given a lot of feedback on the design and all that’s come through; it’s nice to see the results of our input and to feel we’ve been listened to as we can see that all over the building.”
Learning and Leisure Convener Councillor, Jim Logue, said:
“It’s highly impressive; this investment is about improving teaching and learning and getting first-rate community and leisure facilities for the area.”
St Ambrose is divided into two main areas, the main building and the extension. The main building accommodates a number of departments, including English, maths, science and business education, whilst the extension includes space for music, history, art and design and modern studies.
Features of the development include an oratory, an open-plan art department with floor-to-ceiling windows and an assembly hall complete with a stage and a professional lighting control area. Meanwhile sporting facilities include six sports pitches, four-court games hall, gym and changing and referees’ rooms.
As the development has been built with the community in mind a separate entrance has also been included for community users.
Balfour Beatty was the main contractor on the St Ambrose High School project and amongst the hundreds of workers on the site was former St Ambrose pupil Cieran McGuinness. Cieran worked on the site as a bricklaying apprentice and has learned his craft through the construction of the new development.
Discussing his involvement with the project and the subsequent progression of his post-St Ambrose career, Cieran commented:
“During construction I spent half of my time at college and half on site, and every time I came back from college I could not believe how much had been achieved – the building looks so impressive.
“We didn’t even have our own pitch when I was at St Ambrose, but the new building has one grass, four artificial and one for Gaelic football, so I hope the pupils who’ll go to this school will realise how lucky they are.”
“I still keep in touch with my teachers and they are always asking how it’s progressing.”
St Ambrose plays an important role within the community – something which was recognised in both 1992 and 1999 when the school was awarded the Schools Curriculum Award – and regularly participates in community events. With the new development now complete St Ambrose aims to continue this important association with the community as it continues to provide education to the pupils that pass through its doors.