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Ennis set for double class act

TWO new state-of-the-art primary schools have been approved for Ennis, it has been confirmed.

Both Ennis CBS and Scoil Chríost Rí, Cloughleigh have been approved for the Rapid school building programme, with the new schools expected to to be built by September 2017 subject to planning.

Dara Glynn, principal of Ennis CBS said, “It’s absolutely outstanding news, we’re over the moon. After so many years of waiting, this has been a project that has been in the pipeline for around 15 years. For all of a sudden to be told that we could possible be sitting in our new school building in two years time, it seems quite unreal.”

The planned new Ennis CBS will be a 24 classroom school, including two special needs classes. It is expected that the new school will be built on the current school pitch, with the junior building eventually demolished.

And it isn’t just primary pupils who will benefit from the plans, he revealed.

“As part of that process we will be looking at possible options with the senior building, which is the 188 year old building, and the halla. One of the possibilities would be to provide additional capacity to the secondary school, which would take some of the enrolment pressure off the schools in Ennis. The details of whether or not the senior building can be divested to the secondary school needs to be ironed out, whether or not it can be legally done, but we are certainly all for helping out all of the schools by providing that extra capacity.”

According to Mr Glynn, there has been a huge community effort in bringing the school’s building project to this stage.

“I realise that all we have managed to do is get to the starting point. It feels like all these years we’ve been trying to qualify for the Olympics, and now we’ve qualified we’re only at the start of the race. But the good news is we’re in a sprint, not a marathon,” he said.

He also paid tribute to Deputy Michael McNamara, who had arranged for members of the school project team to meet with Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan.

Deputy McNamara commented that this is “very good news” for the school.

“All going to plan, the new school will be built by 2017. The Rapid programme involves a set design and construction methodology. It’s fast, and is used when there is an urgent need, and there is a clear acknowledgement that there is an urgent need. Not every school that is selected for the Rapid programme is subsequently built under the scheme. They all get built in one form or another, but for instance the design may not be suitable for a particular location. But this is very good news.”

Meanwhile, Gearoid Roughan, principal of Scoil Chríost Rí, has expressed delight at the news that they have also been approved for a new school.

“We are delighted with the news. A high percentage of those in the school are working in prefabricated buildings, which don’t have a long term future. This extensive new school project is certainly well deserved, a lot of hard work has gone into getting to this stage. Everyone in the school is very excited, I am delighted for the children and the staff who really deserve a modern new structure to work in. There are exciting times ahead at the school, we are really looking forward to the future at Scoil Chríost Rí.”

Councillor Johnny Flynn, part of Ennis CBS’s school’s building project team and also a member of the board of management at Scoil Chríost Rí, commented that this is very positive for Ennis.

“A lot of hard work has gone into both of these building projects over the years and this is great news, with the two projects amounting to an investment of over €7 million. Primary education is the best place to invest in our children, to fund the building of great learning environments and to encourage the growth of the knowledge economy,” he commented.

The schools are expected to meet with the Department of Education’s design team sometime early next year where plans will be discussed. The proposed designs will then move to the planning stage.

The Rapid school building programme was developed in 2007 to deliver quality cost-effective schools quickly in areas experiencing expanding population growth.

By Jessica Quinn

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