Transformation of CBS gets off ground

By Esther Hayden

Published 14/07/2015 | 00:00

Artist's impression of the new CBS school.
Artist's impression of the new CBS school.
Artist's impression of the new CBS school.
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Artist's impression of the new CBS school.
Artist's impression of the new CBS school.
Artist's impression of the new CBS school.

Contracts for the new CBS schools in Wexford were signed on Monday paving the way for two state of the art schools, with former pupil and Minister for Expenditure Brendan Howlin turning the sod.

Currently the CBS Primary School and Colaiste Eamon Ris Wexford (CBS Secondary School), occupy a single school campus off the Boker/Green Street/Thomas Street, incorporating a series of disparate buildings built at different times. The construction project comprises a major extension to Coláiste Eamon Rís and a significant extension to CBS Primary School, linking the buildings together, with alterations and upgrading of the existing school buildings to provide sustainable school buildings for the future.

The project which will cost €10.68 million excluding VAT is being funded by the Department of Education and Skills and will see the primary school extended to 2,099 metres square while Colaiste Eamon Ris will be 6.223 metres square. The two-year construction project is expected to be completed in August 2017.

The Christian Brothers first came to Wexford in 1849 and built the first school on the current site in 1875. The Primary school currently has 250 pupils with 17 teaching and ancillary staff while the secondary school has 605 pupils and over 60 teaching and ancillary staff.

The new extension to Coláiste Eamon Rís will wrap around the existing school building, creating a strong urban frontage along Thomas Street signifying the civic importance of the school building in the town. The new entrance leads to a new circulation axis linking the new and existing buildings, organising them into a coherent working school with clear orientation.

The building encloses a central courtyard and the existing General Purpose Hall. The development will accommodate a new Special Needs Unit, a Guidance Suite, Learning Support Rooms, a General Purpose Hall, Music and Drama Room, a Lecture Room, a Library, Science Laboratories, Group Rooms, Religion, Social Studies and Maths Rooms, 15 classrooms, Art Room, Woodwork, Construction Studies and Technical Graphics, Multimedia, Business/ Computer Room, offices, staff room and ancillary accommodation. Social spaces are dispersed throughout the school. The design is guided by the Department of Education and Skills' design standards.

Energy efficient upgrading was carried out to CBS Primary School in recent years. It is proposed to consolidate this by upgrading the remaining buildings on the campus to bring them in line with current building standards for sustainability into the future. Teaching spaces are located for ease of use and are orientated to balance solar gain with natural ventilation. The scheme includes a new shared rainwater harvesting system.

A new PE Hall with a fitness suite and seven new ball courts will be built close to the playing pitch. The extension to CBS Primary School will link the two separate existing buildings with a new General Purpose Hall, Library, Multi-purpose Room and offices. The development will provide a coherent plan for the smooth and efficient operation of the school. The design intention is to provide a strong sense of identity, clear orientation with ease of circulation.

The two-storey scale of the buildings was considered carefully in consultation with Wexford County Council's planning department. Warm coloured brickwork and smooth rendered walls will enclose the buildings, with glazed canopies over entrances. A new brickwork boundary wall, with railings will be built along the street. Particular care has been taken to design safe access for pedestrians. New set-down spaces are planned for cars and buses outside the schools on Thomas Street. The existing car parks and site entrances will be upgraded to provide safe access for pedestrians, cyclists and car users. Bicycle parking will be near school entrances. Mature trees are being retained as far as possible with the introduction of new trees and soft landscaping.

The design team is led by KOBW Architects, with Malone O'Regan Consulting Engineers, civil structural engineers, N. J. O'Gorman & Associates, building services engineers, D.L. Martin & Partners, quantity surveyors and Conroy Crowe Kelly Architects, PSDP.

Building contractors Mythens began construction on the site yesterday (Monday) and the works will be carried out on a phased basis to enable both schools to remain in operation for the duration of the construction contract.

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