One of Jersey’s most iconic Victorian buildings has now been transformed into a modern and highly desirable residential community.
After several years of decay, the College Gardens development has now been completed and to mark the occasion, a public art sculpture was unveiled by St Helier’s Constable Simon Crowcroft and Treasury and Resources Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel.
The former Jersey College for Girls site comprises 187 one, two and three bedroom apartments and were all sold off-plan prior to the development’s completion. One hundred and seven apartments were sold on the open market, forty were sold to the Jersey Homes Trust for social, rental housing and forty units were sold as shared-equity to eligible first-time buyers who were pre-qualified through the island’s Housing Gateway.
The £40m construction contract was awarded to ROK Construction in September 2016 with phased completions, the first units were occupied from April 2018 and the final phase was completed in May of this year.
The La Pouquelaye site was acquired by the Jersey Development Company (JDC) in 2015. The Government owned developer then worked closely with Waddington Architects to develop a design that would regenerate and modernise the original Victorian building whilst retaining some of its most iconic features.
Converting the building from educational to residential use required significant adaption, including; a new internal structure and roof to encompass the latest acoustic and thermal requirements; two staircases refurbished and retained along with the primary corridors on the ground, first and second floors. Other original features have been refurbished and reinstated, including skirtings and architraves.
Externally, modifications include transforming the original tennis courts in front of the original College building to communal lawns and preserving the old Greek theatre where a new public art sculpture has been created.
The ‘percentage for art’ project was appointed to Chris Clifford – founder of Private & Public Limited and the CCASM Gallery – who commissioned locally-based sculptor Derek Tristram to deliver a granite carved piece which drew inspiration from some of the school’s most famous alumnae. The sculpture was designed in partnership with Jersey College for Girls students and illustrates some of the remarkable students who attended the College and went on to achieve great things in their lives. The piece also represents women’s changing roles in society during the 20thcentury
The current College has also benefited from the repatriation of the 1930’s oak panelled library and will be used by students for many years to come.
Lee Henry, JDC Managing Director said: “We were delighted to have been entrusted by the Government of Jersey for the regeneration of the former Jersey College for Girls site at La Pouquelaye. The former college building has significant cultural, social and historic importance and we have been privileged to open a new chapter for this site. The development will not only return a financial profit of £5m to the Island but has also made a significant contribution to affordable housing. Redeveloping the landmark building has also helped regenerate the northern part of St Helier.”
Rok Construction’s CEO Bob Matthews commented: “ROK were pleased to be involved with the development and restoration of the old school building to its former glory. The building is one of the island’s iconic structures that had laid derelict for 12 years. This is a true success story and we are proud to have been part of the team that brought new life back to the historic site which will have fond memories for the many students and teachers who attended the college.”
Mike Waddington from Waddington Architect’s and Interiors said: “We are delighted to have been part of the College Gardens team who collaborated in breathing fresh life into this derelict site and creating a development which we hope Islander’s will connect with nostalgically and be proud of.”