The object of the project consisted of the conversion of the Old St Bernard’s Hospital site into two new schools and community sports facilities. The works will primarily involve the renovation and modernisation of existing buildings to turn these into a First School and a Middle School. Its budget is circa £17 Million.
The project embraces three key elements – education, community and heritage and will greatly contribute to the urban regeneration of the Upper Town. The two new schools will be St Bernard’s First and St Bernard’s Middle Schools. The old hospital premises will house both the current St Bernard’s and Sacred Heart Schools. Sacred Heart will be renamed St Bernard’s Middle School.
GJBS achieved the completion date to allow the Government to fulfil a manifesto commitment to re-locate Sacred Heart to a new school which will be able to take an equivalent number of students as other middle schools. The First School has 8 classrooms as well as a range of specialised teaching areas and spaces specifically designed to cater for this age range including rooms for Music, ICT and a library. The Middle School has 16 classrooms, a library and specialised rooms including dedicated teaching areas for Music, ICT, Art, and Science in keeping with the needs of older children. A salient feature of the Middle School is a central glass-roofed, multi-purpose atrium which will be available for students and teachers to enjoy either for social or educational purposes. Both schools will be fully accessible to pupils, parents or teachers who may have mobility issues. The schools is also fully networked and equipped with ICT resources and facilities.
In addition, there is a Sports Hall which is to be shared by the two schools with a play area/sports court on top of the Hall. Both the Sports Hall and court will be available for community use.
The project also provided an excellent opportunity for the restoration and renovation of iconic buildings which were built in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi QC, said: “This exciting project creates much needed school facilities in this area as well as sports facilities for the Community. This will be, in fact, the first purpose built Sports Hall in the Central or Upper Town area. It will be a showpiece of urban regeneration in the Upper Town combining heritage with educational needs and new facilities for the whole community to enjoy.”
The project commenced on June 2014 and its estimated finishing date is September 2015 to complete.