Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Newry

The Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Newry has set new standards for the design and construction of school and community facilities. The quality of design and finish has created an effective space for learning.

The new Grammar school, built on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Newry, has been designed to cater for 875 boys and more than 100 staff.

What has evolved is a high-quality building which extends to approximately 11,800sqm over three floors with a variety of teaching accommodation with extensive internal and external sports facilities.

Key Features:

  • Site conditions were very challenging. The ground conditions were very mixed and we had everything from rock and peat to a lot of ground water to contend with. The site also sloped quite extensively with variations up to 14 metres in places
  • In terms of vocabulary, the external fabric is a combination of red engineering brick, power-coated aluminium window systems and a slate roof
  • The specification of both internal and external materials were developed, in consultation with the school, to minimise maintenance costs
  • Internally the finishes are also to a high standard. Large ceramic tiles have been used as the floor finish and a polished plaster, which gives a marble effect, is used on the walls. Within corridors, Nendrum brick has been widely used
  • The ceiling height is varied within the dining hall, and being slightly irregular in shape, this adds to the visual appeal and the ambience. The kitchen area is open plan and wouldn’t look out of place in a high quality commercial restaurant
  • Most of the joinery is painted softwood but there has been considerable use of cherry veneer on doors and as detailing to other area
  • The sports facilities include a full-sized basketball court in the sports hall, a gymnasium, a multi-use hall, two fitness suites, a sports classroom, ice baths, coach facilities and indoor and outdoor changing rooms. In addition, there is a full-size outdoor 3G floodlit GAA synethic pitch and two sand mattress grass pitches, the larger which is floodlit
  • The playing pitches at Abbey Grammar School are already being used by the Down Gaelic Football Team and the indoor sports facilities are also in great demand

Dermot McGovern, Head Teacher, stated: “I wish to place on record my appreciation of, and admiration for, our contractors, Woodvale Construction. The finished product is a testimony to their outstanding workmanship. May I conclude, therefore, by commending Woodvale Construction in the most glowing terms possible.”

Colleen McAvoy, Bursar, said: “The build of our new school was made easier by the strong working relationship with Woodvale Construction.”

Key Project Information
Architect Samuel Stevenson & Sons
Value £18.6m
Duration 120 weeks
Extra Information
Location Trustees of Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar
Sectors Education
The Project Architect and the Woodvale team members had an excellent working relationship, which I think is reflected in the standard of finish that has been achieved
Peter Niblock, Project Director at Samuel Stevenson and Sons