Contractors move in to start enabling works for new Cultural Centre in Swords

by Rose Barrett
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Contractors moved on site last week to commence enabling works for the new Civic and Cultural Centre in Swords, writes Rose Barrett.

The centre when built will deliver a new library, theatre, gallery and arts spaces for the town. Over the coming months, the contractors will prepare the site, which is the former Fingal County Council car-park at the junction of North Street and Seatown Road, for the arrival of the main construction contractor at the beginning of next year.

The current works involve underground and overground services diversions, the erection of site hoarding to define the site, demolition of a terrace of four units at 20 North Street, removal of railings and street furniture and the supervised archaeological excavation of the site under licence.

FCC is on schedule to put the main construction contract out to tender in September and is currently evaluating applications for inclusion on the tender list. Council teams are also working on traffic management plans to minimise disruption during the two-year construction phase.

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said: “This is another positive step in this project and takes us another step closer to the provision of new community and civic facilities in Swords.”

Chief Executive of FCC, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “We are firmly focused on delivering this project because it will bring so many benefits to the town of Swords. Reaching the enabling works stage marks the achievement of another key milestone in the project and I would like to thank the team for their efforts to get us to this point and our councillors for their support.”

The Swords Cultural Quarter is a 3.89 acre area around the junction of North Street, Seatown Road, Bridge Street and Main Street which includes Swords Castle, County Hall, Swords Courthouse and the Carnegie Library.

It is one of 16  projects contained in the Council’s Sustainable Swords Strategy which is a detailed plan to rejuvenate the centre of Fingal’s county town.

The Civic and Cultural Centre building, which has been designed by renowned architects O’Donnell and Tuomey, will include a new 3,000m2 County Library, an art gallery and exhibition space, a café, a civic area, studios and rehearsal rooms, and a Black Box theatre which can cater for audiences of between 165 and 360 depending on the type of event being staged.

The new library, which will be seven times bigger than the existing one, will offer the people of Swords a full suite of library services for the first time. In addition to a much larger stock of books, the new library will include the Local Studies and Archive section, as well as a Maker Space, study space, reading areas, events and meeting rooms.

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