Fast-track for non-parish schools

Portlaoise Educate Together, Gaelscoil Portlaoise and Maryborough NS have been promised that that their schools will be fast-tracked on shared campus in Summerhill.

Portlaoise Educate Together, Gaelscoil Portlaoise and Maryborough NS have been promised that that their schools will be fast-tracked on shared campus in Summerhill.

The three schools are part of a rapid build project, which is being led by the Department of Education and expected to take just nine months to complete.

Educate Together princiapl, Gerry Breslin explains: “Its part of a new rapid build project which goes from greenfield to fully developed site in nine months. Everyone here, from the board of management, parents, staff and most of all the children are delighted with the news. It’s fantastic to think that we will soon have a new building with great facilities and outdoor spaces for the children to enjoy. Roll on September 2013. I think this is a great opportunity to build a community of schools on one campus each with their own separate and unique ethos,” Mr Breslin said.

The news could not come at a better time for the newest school in the town who will outgrow their accommodation in the former VEC school building on Railway Street, next year.

“We have very little room as it is. We have just enough space to last us for the coming year. The department have told us time and time again that we will have a new school building by September 2013 or January 2014 at the very latest.”

The roll books of Portlaoise Educate Together will have more than quadrupled by September when the school principal anticiaptes he will have 180 children in his classrooms.

“We currently have 115 students and we will have two more junior infant classes in September which will give us 180 children. When we opened we had 40 students on our roll.”

Deputy Princiapl of Maryborough NS, Jane Breslin said there was relief in the school yesterday when the announcement was made.

“We were very relieved to hear that the school was on a list for construction next year. Our existing building has become delapidated and old,” she said.

“We are quiet confined here. The traffic outside the school is a problem. Parents park in the church car park, but crossing the road with the children can be dangerous. We are looking forward to having nice facilities and space for the children to enjoy at lunch breaks.”

The principal of Gaelscoil Phortlaoise was not available for comment.