TODD Architects recently completed the newbuild Omagh Integrated Primary & Nursery School, which combined with the adjacent existing Drumragh College, forms the first Integrated Education Campus serving the Tyrone region. This new addition marks a major milestone for the school and local community, as they have been campaigning for this new building for thirty years. TODD Architects engaged with the school’s principal, teachers and parents to create the most effective, efficient, sustainable design to facilitate flexible teaching needs and to suit its rural context.
The school comprises of fourteen classrooms for a capacity of 420 students. Located on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Omagh town, both Primary and Nursery school benefit from a new access road, cycle path, car and bus parking with dedicated drop-off provision. Teaching areas are complemented by generous hard and soft play areas with a central sheltered courtyard & associated landscaping. Internally a resource area provides a key node point to each corner of the courtyard with through access to accompanying multipurpose hall and dining facilities.
Omagh IPS was initially established in 1989 and up until the new build was complete was previously housed in temporary portacabin accommodation. During this time the school has grown from strength to strength building on its already renowned reputation for being a child-centred, progressive and parent friendly school, promoting diversity, dignity and respect for all, regardless of race, religion, politics, culture or background. The school also offers a 24 child Nursery class and wrap around extra care services including Parent & Toddler classes, Omagh IPS Friends Pre-School and After School homework club.
TODD Architects conducted an extensive feasibility study examining the available options for the location of the new building, while focusing on environmental and sustainability factors both in construction and in use. Architecturally the main influences were based on the Classroom configuration developed to follow the progress of pupil’s transitionary cycle from P1 to P7 around the building in an anticlockwise arrangement. Central resource areas grouped around classroom key stages were directly linked to the central courtyard and external learning environment. The continuous circulation loop provided glimpses into the central space and aided orientation for younger pupils. The central courtyard in addition offers sheltered protection from the adverse weather extending the resource area outside.
The scheme started on site in Jan 2017, reaching completion in June 2018, on target and within budget.
“TODD Architects listened very carefully to what we needed to make our school really work for all its inhabitants. We had a vision of a bright, airy dynamic building that also generated a sense of serenity and order to reflect our Integrated Ethos, and that is exactly what TODD’s delivered. Throughout the design journey, there were of course very many challenges and changes, twists and tweaks, but time and again, the TODD Architects’s team produced creative solutions to complete the brief and satisfy our demanding needs of quality, function, design and aesthetics. What I liked most about working with TODD’s was their client-based approach, their architectural aptitude, their accountability and most of all their accessibility. In summary, I would say that it was an enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable experience working with TODD Architects and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough for any school at the genesis of their design process. “
Anthony Bradley, Principal Omagh IPS