Moves towards two major new facilities at St Patrick’s Grammar School in Armagh have taken a huge step forward with the appointment of a specialist team to oversee the project, Armagh I can reveal.
An integrated consultant team has now been put in place which will pull together all of the elements involved in such a huge project, including architects, engineering and construction.
The contract – which has been an active process since 2019 – has been awarded for the development of a state-of-the-art sports centre as well as a specialised learning support centre.
And the tender in this case – promoted by Construction and Procurement Delivery at the Department of Finance – has been awarded to Belfast-based architects Isherwood and Ellis LLP.
They will oversee and lead all of the professional services involved in delivering these new school facilities at the Cathedral Road site in Armagh.
The contract has been awarded for a period of four years.
In May 2018, St Patrick’s Grammar School’s application to the Department of Education’s School Enhancement Programme (SEP) was approved.
Behind the scenes, a lot of work has been carried out to progress the project and last week the first project board meeting took place.
Commenting on the project, Desmond Oliver, Chair of the school Board of Governors, told Armagh I : “This is a very exciting project that has been carefully planned to develop the school to further meet the needs of the students.
“We are delighted to see the project begin and look forward to working with the Department of Education and Isherwood and Ellis to provide the best facilities we can.
“The targeted facilities are focused on improving the education of students in our large, all-ability, post-primary school, of around 950 boys. DE architects and officials have worked with the school to ensure they deliver the resources the students deserve.
“The Learning Support Centre will provide specialised accommodation to enable boys to avail of an extra level of guidance from our dedicated Learning Support Team; guidance on their social, emotional, and academic wellbeing and development.
“The Sports Centre will finally deliver the sports facilities needed for our school. With a large sports hall and associated spaces, this will surely enable the further development of sports in a school with a rich tradition of sporting excellence.”
The school principal, Dominic Clarke, is understandably looking forward to the project.
“Our school has evolved considerably in recent years,” Mr Clarke told Armagh I.
“These new enhanced facilities are massive for our school community. Sport is a vital aspect of our curriculum, our tradition, and is central to the health and wellbeing of our students and staff.
“The Learning Support Centre will really reflect our child-centred ethos and add to our superb pastoral care in very nourishing surroundings – the boys really deserve this.”
While the project is in the early phases of development St Patrick’s Grammar School is keen to progress the work with DE and the design team to deliver state-of-the-art facilities for the students and the whole community.