THE building of a new Ennis National School at Ashline on the Kilrush Road was brought a step closer this week as the Department of Education and Science signalled approval for detailed design documents to be drawn up and planning permission sought for the proposed project.
It’s a development which has been warmly received by principal, Ray McInerney, staff and parents of children attending the Ennis school who are counting down the days when a plethora of prefabs on the schoolyard will be a bad memory.
Speaking about the development, Mr McInerney said, “We are delighted that the Department of Education and Science has undertaken to permit two architects to finish the process of designing the building and preparing the tender documentation. Following the disappointment that arose from the liquidation of the original architects, it is a great vote of confidence for the school that the department itself has undertaken to finish the design with the existing design team and is committed to building the new Ennis National School.
“We had an eight-week delay and we are delighted that that has now been overcome and that the project is proceeding as planned. We have used that time period to finalise our plans for an enhanced school hall, which will be one of the most spacious and generously specked out primary school halls in the country,” Mr McInerney said.
The school currently has an enrolment of 650 pupils and the new school will mean it will generate additional accommodation for an increased school population, while the proposed new 32-classroom school will accommodate approximately 850 pupils.
Mr McInerney said he hoped that the proposed timeframe for the new build would not be compromised and that the construction phase can proceed without any further delays.
In making the latest announcement, Minister for Defence Tony Killeen said, “Minister Mary Coughlan informed me that the proposed development has been authorised to proceed to Stage B, which includes the drafting of detailed design, planning application and tender documents. This comes as a major boost to the school’s board of management as it will enable it to proceed to the construction phase of the project, pending planning permission that is acquired from the local authority,” Minister Killeen said.
“I am delighted to see that despite the current recessionary times, the school remains in a position to work in partnership with the department to ensure that this project is brought to fruition. I have been informed by the board that architects are currently working on detailed design plans with a view to completing them within weeks.
“The project will be able to go to tender once the design draft is agreed and planning permission has been secured from the council,” he added.
The development of a replacement school on a new site was authorised by the Government in November 2006.
It is proposed that the school will feature 32 classrooms and ancillary facilities such as a library/computer room, resource classroom space, sports hall and outdoor playing fields.