We are delighted to mark a key milestone in the construction phase of the new, state-of-the-art Erne Campus, with an official “Topping-out” ceremony on Friday 25 October. Representatives for the Department for the Economy, Tracey Brothers Ltd., the contractor responsible for the Campus build, and SWC took time to view the significant progress to date and learn from the Project Team some of the many facets of the significant renewable and sustainable technologies embedded in the construction phase.
The Erne Campus will be a flagship for sustainable construction globally, as the first educational building in the world to achieve PassivHaus Premium and BREEAM Excellent accreditations. The project, funded by an investment of approximately £29million by the Department for the Economy, will present exciting learning and research opportunities for students at SWC and architectural/construction industries across the UK and Ireland, and is already attracting significant interest locally, nationally and internationally.
Beverley Harrison, Director of Further Education, for the Department for the Economy said,
“I am delighted to see the new Erne Campus for South West College progressing so well. This is a magnificent building which will deliver high quality training facilities in purpose-built learning spaces for students and staff. Construction of the campus is also providing a timely boost to the local construction industry, creating employment for over 200 people during the construction phase, including apprenticeship opportunities.
This investment by the Department is part of a wider funding package of £215million that will deliver a total of seven major capital projects right across the Further Education sector in Northern Ireland. This transformational investment is testament to the strength of the sector as a whole and the important role it plays in driving economic growth and prosperity.”
The Erne campus will provide a unique learning environment, with significant health and well-being benefits for staff and students through its PassivHaus design. It will also act as a living laboratory for the study of areas such as, energy efficiency and conservation, environmental impact, water usage, and sustainable construction techniques. It is envisaged, that findings from studies associated with this building will inform design and building applications for domestic and commercial buildings of the future.
Michael McAlister, Chief Executive, South West College, said;
“This is truly a momentous day for South West College and also for the South West Region of Northern Ireland and the wider Border Region. We are rapidly moving towards the opening of this world class educational campus and will by August 2020 have one of the finest college buildings in Western Europe. Future generations of students and employers who access this building, will not only be amazed by the standard and futuristic nature of construction utilised but will also see and feel first hand, the comfort and design levels that are synonymous with PassivHaus construction.
South West College has a comprehensive and growing suite of Higher Education, Further Education and Apprenticeship programmes on offer and will continue to develop and expand this provision in the new Erne Campus. We will utilise this unique physical asset to inform and inspire the regional and national construction industries and build upon our existing international partnerships as they continue to come to Northern Ireland to see this technological wonder in practice”.
The SWC Erne Campus project, costing in the region of £29 million, is pushing the boundaries of technology in almost every aspect of construction, with technologies that are leading edge and in many instances, unique and bespoke for this project.
John Tracey said,
“It is a privilege for Tracey Brothers to host todays topping out ceremony. ‘Topping out’ is a builders' rite traditionally held when the last beam or Stone is placed on top a structure during its construction, this tradition dates back to the construction of the Pyramids. The Erne Campus at South West College will be a flagship for sustainable construction with its pioneering PassivHaus premium standard and modern design and construction. Therefore, it is fitting to introduce tradition into this modern building today at this topping out ceremony”.
Construction of the 8,200 m2 building is scheduled for completion in August 2020 and has provided employment for over 200 people, including a number of apprenticeship opportunities representing a major economic boost for the South West region.