Historic city building getting ready for Crawford art students

Historic city building getting ready for Crawford art students

Work taking place on the Old Bank of Scotland building on the corner of the Grand Parade. Picture: Dan Linehan

MORE than 100 CIT students will be accommodated in the college's new city centre hub for postgraduate studies in art and design.

Refurbishment works on the former Bank of Scotland building at 46 Grand Parade are on course to be finished by August, allowing the students to move in ahead of the start of the 2017/18 term.

The iconic city centre building, which sits next to the Nano Nagle bridge on Grand Parade overlooking the south channel of the River Lee, was snapped up by the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design for just over €1 million in late 2015.

A further €1 million is being pumped into bringing the building up to spec ahead of the new term, with on-site staff reporting major issues with dampness and a leaking roof.

Despite these issues, hopes are high that the building will be ready to be occupied by August.

CIT Crawford College of Art & Design has its main campus on Sharman Crawford Street, but also has media and communications students based in Bishopstown.

Once completed, 46 Grand Parade will house postgraduate students and continuing professional development courses in fine art, art therapy, participatory arts and art education; effectively forming a centre for postgraduate study in art and design.

Among the students studying there will be roughly 100 who are currently studying on two floors in the nearby former tax office on Sullivan's Quay.

The majority of tenants have vacated the BAM-owned building, which has planning permission for a hotel.

Contractors started work at 46 Grand Parade on March 20, with hoardings added to the front of the building just after the St Patrick's Day celebrations had finished in the city centre.

Architect Susan Brennan, who also worked on the Boole Library in UCC, said the redevelopment posed 'unique challenges.'

The building had been vacant for more than two years before CIT moved in, exacerbating issues with damp, water ingress and leaks.

It was also required to seek a change of use for the protected structure, which was previously occupied by financial company Certus and Bank of Scotland.

Roughly 30 people are working on site, making the €1 million redevelopment a reality.

It is understood that the building will include a number of open-plan workspaces and, potentially, a ground-floor gallery.

Built around 1840, the historic building was originally designed by brothers James and George Richard Pain who were also responsible for the design of Blackrock Castle and the 19th century redesign of Christchurch, now the Triskel.

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