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Gaelscoil seeks planning for its new school near wetlands

Proposal to extend site and create conditions to double the school population

GAELSCOIL Donncha Rua has lodged a planning application for a new development, which would see the school’s numbers doubling.
A design statement accompanying the planning application says the proposed Gaelscoil Donncha Rua would be a replacement primary school for 70 pupils on the site of the existing temporary accommodation school in Shannon.
It is envisaged the existing site of 0.55 acres be extended to a total of 1.94 acres to accommodate the new building. Projected enrollment once the new school is completed is 140 pupils.
The statement notes the site forms part of a landbank owned by Clare County Council that is currently undergoing development for parklands and public amenity areas.
“The area of the site outside of the existing school boundaries is currently in use as amenity wetlands,” the statement notes, adding that “The existing school site has an area of 0.55 acres currently and consists of five temporary prefabs, a canopy, a Naíonra infants school in a temporary cabin, and hard and soft play areas.
“The site is gently sloping and is defined by its high water table and marshy ground conditions.
“The adjacent public playground carpark is curently used as the student drop off area with pedestrian access to the school grounds via gates opening from this car park.
“We engaged with the Local Authority, at pre-planning stage, and presented a proposed new entrance to the school grounds, from Bealach Brí, with a set down area now located within the boundaries of the school.”
It says that the site is being purchased from Clare County Council, by the Department of Education.
The new building will be set back a bit from the road, according to the statement.
“Due to the position of the existing school on the site, and the requirement to keep the school in this position and operational for the duration of the build; the proposed position of the new building is set back from the road junction.
“Therefore, to create a strong landmark feature in the landscape there is an increase in height with the introduction of a ‘clock tower/watch tower’ to mark the entrance to the school building.”
The development would have a general purpose hall, also designed to accommodate out of hours activity and community engagement.
The statement adds, “The main school building is a cluster of classrooms radiating from the central General Purpose Room.
“The library is central in the general purpose area with the offices and ancillary spaces to the right divided with a central corridor. This contains the main school accommodation. The classrooms are positioned to maximise orientation and natural daylight.
“Extending from the main building volume and forming the entrance plaza are the double height clock tower and covered entrance canopy and bicycle shelter.
“These create an enclosure and sense of arrival for the new school building. The layout of the building and entrance plaza picks up the alignments of the local site boundary and engages with the landscape while forming an external social space.
“The general purpose area is positioned centrally in the building between the external entrance plaza and the landscaped pedestrian area.”
Under the heading of community engagement, it says, “Gaelscoil Donncha Rua is a mixed primary school currently located in temporary accommodation to the north of the site.
“The school have already established links to the community through strong and continued growth in enrolment of local pupils from the vicinity.
“The school currently engage with the adjacent leisure centre courts and playground. This engagement will continue to develop with the completion of the new school facilities including the general purpose hall.
“The school has been designed to accommodate ‘Out of Hours’ activities for community events which will contribute to broader community engagement.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.
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