Loreto Community School, Milford

In the north of County Donegal, the town of Milford tucks itself into a steeply sloping landscape. This school sits on a tiered landscape, sheltering 5m below the public road and overlooking three playing fields positioned 10m below.

Close to Mulroy Bay and exposed to the North Atlantic, the zinc undulating roof rises and falls, creating its own landscape, in response to the drama of the local typography . Light and air are drawn in between the folds of this undulation.

Built by Woodvale Construction Company for the Department of Education & Science, the school is organised into four main elements:

  • Single storey Technology wing
  • Two-storey classroom block
  • Dining / Assembly Area which is placed at the heart of the school
  • Sports Hall

Key Features:

  • The school had to be constructed over three phases to ensure the existing school remained fully operational while the new school was being constructed
  • It was business as usual for the existing students, staff and visitors alike who went about their normal activities during the construction of their new school
  • Working in and around the existing school provided many challenges, particularly in terms of safety, traffic management, deliveries, dust mitigation, noise and vibration control, and minimising inconvenience to the curriculum life, particularly around the examination calendar
  • The project was delivered to an extremely high standard of craftsmanship and build quality. It’s specification included zinc standing seam roof, paint grade block, plywood ceilings, powerfloated sub-floors and complex M&E systems throughout
  • All the teaching spaces, with their ceilings lined in plywood, vary in size and volume, drawing light from different sources. The upper level of the classroom block links across to the Sports Hall Gallery by a bridge suspended over the Dining / Assembly Area
  • Tall plastered walls catch and reflect sunlight. Points of colour highlight significant areas

The project was honoured by receiving the RIAI OPUS Architectural and Construction Award.

Key Project Information
Architect Grafton Architects
Value €11m
Duration 52 Weeks (Phase 1) & 16 weeks (Phase 2 & 3)
Extra Information
Location Department of Education & Science
Sectors Education
We would have no hesitation in recommending Woodvale Construction as the Main Contractor for any project and we hope that we have the opportunity of working with them again in the future


Philippe O’Sullivan, Associate Director, Grafton Architects