The latest detailed plans of the facility will be available in the school Foyer on Wednesday 3rd April between 6pm and 8pm and we are inviting all our neighbours and community partners to visit the school, then to view the plans and chat informally with Governors and Senior Leadership about the potential of this major investment for the area.
The development and planning of facilities at Glassmullin by De La Salle College and Belfast City Council has been ongoing since 2013. Since then there has been ongoing consultation and communication with the local and wider community and also with local sports groups, in addition to the wider school community of students, parents and teachers.
The boys currently have no readily accessible outdoor sports provision; indeed, the recommended provision for the boys should be 5 pitches. In developing the Council owned location at Glassmullin, the needs of the local and wider community have been to the forefront of the school’s thinking resulting in a design which maximises both school and community needs. Community provision will be additional to the existing indoor facilities in the De La Salle which are operating at maximum capacity for local sports clubs.
The plans have been significantly revised three times following consultation, resulting in a final plan which meets school needs while making provision for extensive landscaped open space facilities for local residents. The sports provision now occupies under 50% of the land available with the remainder as managed landscape development. There will be extensive availability of the facility for community use outside school hours including weekends and holidays, and the management committee will have a significant role in planning opening times, use of lighting and other operational issues.
There has been a delay in the process of appointing a contractor due to the very high level of interest from the industry, with some 43 contractors expressing interest to undertake the work. The shortlisting of these to a manageable number was completed at the end of 2018 and tenders were subsequently issued to 6 contractors, with responses received at Christmas 2018. The analysis of these tenders is almost complete at which point the school will engage again with community representatives and local residents. It is expected that the preferred contractor will be able to commence works by Easter, with works completing in early Spring 2020.
INVITATION TO NEIGHBOURS AND LOCAL COMMUNITY
The resulting design will ensure complementary provision for the boys and the local community. De La Salle College is very aware of its role in the local community providing high quality education provision for our students and a valuable community resource. This major £1.6 million investment in school and community facilities in West Belfast will address both the significant under provision of outdoor sports provision in De La Salle College while providing opportunity for extensive community use of both the sports facilities and the landscaped garden areas. The school will work closely with our neighbours and community partners in the management of this exciting new facility until its opening around Easter 2020 and thereafter.