NAMA property being sought for new school
This week, the Department of Education and Skills informed Ennis Educate Together National School that a 16-classroom unit should be provided for the school, which is currently situated on the Gort Road.
A committee at the school has now begun compiling a portfolio of possible locations for the new school, with principal Sean O Confhaola confirming that the committee has investigated the potential of Ennis sites acquired by the National Management Asset Agency among other locations throughout the town.
“We are delighted that the Department of Education and Skills has decided a 16-classroom unit should be provided for the school. It is projected that this accommodation will be required by September 2012 and the department is currently looking for a suitable site for Ennis Educate Together National School,” he said.
He went on, “The Department of Education has identified that by 2012 the numbers of children going to school in Ennis will have risen and they will need more classrooms. Just looking at the Ennis and Environs Development Plan, it is clear there could be many hundreds of extra children looking for places in schools.
“What we are doing now is putting together a portfolio of sites that could potentially be suitable for a new school.”
Ennis Educate Together National School has been open and in temporary accommodation since 1998.
“Everybody in the school is very excited about this news. Over the last number of years it has become clear there are not enough classrooms in the town for the future.
“We are delighted and are being very proactive about how a new site is found. After 13 years in prefabs, we are delighted to finally be getting a new building. The prefabs are not too bad but sometimes there are problems with the flooring and we have no hall. For the future development of the school and the full education of the children, this new school will be a real boost,” he said.
“The difficulty with building onto where we are at the moment is that it is zoned industrial and the site is a little small for what we would require for a 16-classroom school.
“We are considering every area in the town, we are very flexible but we are particularly interested in the Gort Road, Tulla Road and Roslevan area.
“Many of our students would already come from the Gort Road and Tulla Road areas and Roslevan has a lot of houses and a shopping area, but there is no school in the area.
“The department is delighted we are taking a pro-active approach to finding a site. We have even looked into the possibility of NAMA sites.
“I’ve been looking at
the NAMA website to see what would be suitable,” he said.
Among the possible sites that have been identified by the committee are Our Lady’s Hospital and the former GAA pitch at Roslevan.
A recent meeting of Ennis Town Council heard a number of sporting clubs have expressed an interest in the site and while the local authority carefully considered purchasing the grounds, town manager Ger Dollard confirmed that the council were no longer interested in the site.
Mr O Confhaola commented, “We know that there is a lot of interest already in that site from a lot of sporting clubs and we wouldn’t want to step on any toes.
“When choosing a new location we want to work with the local community.
“We are quite open and flexible to where the new school should be and we are very interested in serving the needs of the local community.”
According to Mr O Confhaola, the announcement of the proposed new school by the department is a real boost not only for Ennis Educate Together but for the entire community of Ennis.
“Opening a new school in an area should be a great asset to the community. We will have a hall, playing field and already we are running classes for parents in the school so that is something we could continue in a new location.
We believe that the new building should be available for the community.
“The creation of a new school would also be an economic asset to the town as it would require builders to be hired,” he said.