Students of Clonakilty Community College in West Cork are in for a big surprise when they return to school after months of lockdown. Governed by the Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB), the West Cork school has recently undergone a state-of-the-art extension, made possible by a significant investment of €10.5 million.
The extensive works, designed by KOBW Architects and carried out by general building contractors Cahalane Brothers Ltd, involved the demolition of part of the existing single story and temporary buildings, followed by the construction of a new two-storey extension, spanning 3,195m².
One of the main features of the new building is a special educational needs base, which can facilitate two classes while also incorporating a central activities space; a practical activities room that assists with the development of daily living skills; a para educational room; a multi-sensory room; and a secure outdoor play area.
The extension also provides 10 additional classrooms, as well as a variety of multidisciplinary rooms.
The new build has also created space for guidance, pastoral and administrative offices, as well as areas specifically designated for first aid and storage. Physical education will be further supported within the extension with the addition of three ball courts.
Based around the Department of Education and Skills’ ‘Schools of the Future’ room layouts, the design allows a greater external wall area for daylight and ventilation, while their regular sizes allow for efficient structural design. The extension is arranged around a courtyard, linked to the existing – now central – general purpose room, which generates greater connectivity throughout the school. Maintaining a streamlined flow between the new extension and the existing school, the development has succeeded in presenting a strong civic building to the town.
Commenting on the significant expansion of the school, Anne Dunne, Principal of Clonakilty Community College, said: “We are beyond delighted to be the first in the country to unveil the ‘Schools of the Future’ design concept. Our beautiful new building was made possible through a collective effort between KOBW Architects and local contractors Cahalane Brothers Ltd, who took a huge personal interest in this West Cork-based project. We cannot wait to share this beautiful, bright, spacious, vibrant new home with our full college community and look forward to the reopening of the schools, so that our students can begin to benefit from this amazing facility.”
In order to facilitate the continued operation of the school, construction work was carried out in phases since the building was handed over in December 2020. With the contractor currently on-site completing outside works, the overall project is due for completion next month; just in time for the students to make a welcome return.
Speaking in relation to the €10m extension, Cork ETB Chief Executive Denis Leamy said: “Cork ETB is hugely proud of this state-of-the-art development and we’re extremely pleased that it will be ready for students and staff to utilise once they are permitted to return to school and we are confident that these significant upgrades will prove invaluable to both students and teachers at Clonakilty Community College.”
“We will continue to strive to improve educational resources and facilities for our primary schools, post primary schools and our Further Education colleges across the city and county. This investment reaffirms our commitment to providing staff, students and teachers with the best environment possible for continued educational development and support and we look forward to receiving their feedback upon their return to their classrooms.”