Michael Houston, principal of Ulidia Integrated College, is on top of the world – or, more precisely, the new school building!
Hamilton Architects are leading the Integrated Consultant Team to deliver a new 700-pupil school for Ulidia in Carrickfergus.
“I recently had the chance to step inside the structure of our new school for the very first time – and it is stunning,” said Michael. “I imagine it is the one and only time I will ever stand on its roof!
“I could see from Knockagh Monument to Harland and Wolff, our own Carrickfergus Castle (we will be tall enough to see it now) right across the lough to County Down and beyond.
“The views over Belfast Lough from the library and particularly the 6th form centre are incredible, the scale of the atrium and assembly hall spaces, the classrooms and the layout of where the sports pitches will be is so exciting.
“We are still probably a year away from having the building handed over to us, and the final sports pitches a few months after that, but it is joyous to get this far.”
Graeme Ogle, Partner at Hamilton Architects, said: “Construction of the three-storey, 10,314m2 facility on the school’s existing site at Victoria Road will take place over a number of phases.
“The new school building, which includes 43 classrooms and state-of-the-art 3G pitches and PE facilities, is being put in first, followed by the demolition of the existing building and completion of site works in the second phase.
“Facilities include a new Technology and Design suite which will be four times bigger than current provision, with a dedicated study and wellbeing space for Sixth Form and a stunning new library with far-reaching views over Belfast Lough.”
Speaking at the sod-cutting, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said funding for the project was supported under the Fresh Start programme.
“Schools are very much the hub of any community and I am certain this investment will have a major impact on the wider local community, promoting good relations and creating many positive outcomes,” she said.