A MULTI-million euro redevelopment of Knockanean National School has moved a step closer as planning permission is now being sought for a ‘decant’ temporary school at a local GAA club.
The board of management at Knockanean has lodged an application with Clare County Council for a temporary school on lands at St Joseph’s Doora – Barefield GAA Club to be used during construction of a long awaited new school development which has already been given the go-ahead.
The temporary primary school will consist of seven prefabricated buildings to accommodate 12 classrooms, five SET Rooms, staff room, principal office and administration.
Other works include roads, parking and a drop-off area. According to a services report lodged with the application on behalf of the school, no set-down or pick up will be facilitated on the public road.
The proposed development will use the existing gates which are 6 metres wide with adequate sight lines available without works.
It is proposed to provide stop signage and markings at the entrance with advanced signage on the R469.
The report outlines the proposed temporary accommodation is for an approximate period of two years while the new permanent school is to be constructed on the current site of Knockanean National School.
The portion of the GAA ground on which the temporary accommodation is to be located is within the current car park area to the south west of the club house building.
The development of a new permanent school for Knockanean, understood to cost in the region of €6 million, was given the green light by Clare County Council back in 2020.
The plans submitted by the Office of Public Works (OPW) include the construction of eight new classrooms, with an existing four-classroom block built in 2011 retained and integrated into the new build.
The new development will not result in an increase in student numbers at the school, with a condition of planning limiting school enrolments to 297 pupils.
Councillor Johnny Flynn, part of the project team established to realise the new development at Knockanean has described the latest step in bringing the project to fruition as “fantastic”.
“This is great news, it’s fantastic. Obviously there are additional costs involved in building a temporary school at this location in Doora-Barefield and the Department have come up with the funding,” he said.
He estimates that the additional funding required is in the region of €1 million.
“It has been great over the last number of years to be on the local project team assisting the board of management, the principal and Joe Carey TD was involved in the group working on this to get it through planning and funding.”
He expressed the hope that planning permission for the temporary school will be granted as soon as possible so construction works on the new permanent school can begin.
“Knockanean badly needs a new school. There is a great school community there and the pupils and staff badly need a 21st century school building.”
A decision on the application for the temporary school is expected on July 18.
The new permanent school development will involve demolishing the existing boundary walls, single storey six-classroom school building of 685sqm, open shed and prefabricated classroom building.
The existing four-classroom block with a gross floor area of 370sqm will be retained and integrated into the new school. The development consists of a new two-storey primary school building.
As well as the classrooms, the development will include a General Purpose Room and ancillary accommodation.
Site works will include the replacement of the existing gated entrance with two new gated vehicular and two new separate pedestrian entrances off the Knockanean Road boundary, serving 24 on-site car parking spaces and associated set down areas and pedestrian pathways.
Also planned are two ball courts, play areas, a bin store, a bicycle shelter, gas tank enclosure, three flagpoles, connection to existing foul drainage treatment system, separate surface water drainage, signage, landscaping and all associated site works on an overall site area of 1.34 hectares. The building will be set back from the Knockanean Road.