Ireland, Premier Construction

Contractors commended on school transformation

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The construction of a major new extension, the demolition of part of an existing school and the refurbishment of the remainder, plus wide- ranging external works, have dramatically transformed Our Lady’s Secondary School in Belmullet, County Mayo, Ireland.

Main contractors for the project, which is nearing completion, are Kilcawley Construction who have been commended for their work; architects are Taylor Architects.

The 2659m² mainly two-storey extension incorporates general and specialist teaching classrooms, a sports hall and ancillary accommodation; offices, laboratory rooms, toilets, store rooms, circulation/social areas, locker rooms and a multi-purpose hall, as well as two lifts.

The building is structured around a steel frame, with external elevations in insulated cavity blockwork with a render finish, incorporating aluminium framed double glazed thermally broken windows and sections of curtain walling. The roof is a composite insulated metal standing seam aluminium system. The works include the complete fit-out of classrooms and the installation of laboratory equipment and furniture.

The remaining 2159m² of the original school building has been completely refurbished, including re-roofing, new internal finishes, new furniture and new mechanical and electrical installation including heating, lighting and fire protection. Other works include localised repairs to the roof and windows.

External works comprise the provision of a new access road; car parking areas; play areas; hard and soft landscaping; the installation of new street furniture including bicycle racks, stainless steel bollards, and waste bins and the installation of new signage and lighting. Other external works comprise the formation of new footpaths and the erection of new fencing around the school, as well as new gates.

The contract also involved the demolition of an existing single storey section of the school, the decommissioning of an existing boiler and the removal of asbestos contained in it.

All of the works have been carried out whilst the school is in full operation and have therefore been carefully phased, with temporary accommodation also having been provided for classes.

Paolo Baraldini of Taylor Architects told Premier Construction:

“The site is on the western edge of Ireland and is very exposed to strong winds, so a number of elements including roofing, windows and steelwork had to be specifically designed and the construction was particularly challenging.

“The contract has been quite complicated due to the school being occupied during the project. The contractor has been very professional in delivering the scheme – particularly in terms of ensuring health and safety – and has done a good job.”

The contract will be completed on programme and on budget in February 2015.

Our Lady’s Secondary School is a co-educational Christian Mercy School, whose aim it is to promote the development of the total person, by creating a climate where the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and cultural development of its students is a priority.

Kilcawley Construction was founded in 1934 by brothers Matthew and Tom Kilcawley. The cornerstone of the company has always been ‘Excellence in Construction.’

Founded in 1966, Taylor Architects is one of Ireland’s leading design consultancies employing a total of 30 architects, architectural technicians and interior designers, in their main office in Castlebar and satellite office in Dublin.

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