We are pleased to celebrate the completion of the new €5m million St Oliver’s Special School in Tuam, Co. Galway. Designed by Simon J Kelly Architects, the new facility provides a full educational curriculum for pupils aged 4-18 with special needs. The build was completed during the COVID-19 national lockdown, as the construction of the school was considered an essential project.
Built by Carey Building Contractors, the facility accommodates up to 34 children with severe to profound learning disabilities, multiple diagnoses as well as students with autism or emotional and behavioural problems. The school has also introduced an early intervention class for pre-school children, aged 2 ½ to 6 years old, with a diagnosis of autism.
The 2,221 sqm first-class educational facility is primarily of single-storey construction but includes a partial basement, facing the public road, containing a hydrotherapy and physiotherapy suite. The elevated and sloped site was first reduced by 2-3m with retaining walls constructed to adjoining properties. Classrooms are fully wheelchair accessible with hoists to assist the movement of students.
To encourage outdoor learning, the facility benefits from carefully designed landscaped spaces including hard and soft play areas that can be used as an external teaching space. The reduced site dig is evident in the soft play area, where raised beds have been planted to create a sensory garden and soften the boundary.
Waterman Moylan was appointed as health and safety consultants and independent Project Supervisor Design Process for the design and construction phases of the project.
In a recent statement, Galway East TD Sean Canney described the new school as a “modern spacious educational facility that will be of huge benefit to pupils, their families and the staff at St. Oliver’s.”
Kieran O Neill, Waterman Moylan’s Health and Safety Consultant, said: “This is one of those projects which is of obvious and immediate benefit to a community, and which will enrich the lives of all those pupils with special needs who pass through its doors. The whole design team was energised to design the very best facility that they could throughout the process. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute towards the successful delivery of the school.”