Pictures reveal repair work on 'remediated' Western Building Systems built Laois schools continue

Department claimed work was already completed in Portlaoise

Leinster Express Reporter

Reporter:

Leinster Express Reporter

Structural repair work is ongoing at two Laois primary schools which the Department of Education and Skills listed last week as already being 'permanently remediated'.

Builders were working at the Educate Together and Gaelscoil Phortlaoise on Monday morning, August 19. Four days earlier the Department of Education and Skills indicated remediation work was finished on the buildings built by Western Buildings Systems. 

The Department issued a statement on August 14 in which it said the following. 

"Some 22 schools were included in the first phase of the programme over the course of the school summer holidays, with permanent engineering solutions designed for each school.

"This structural remediation work has been carried out in 14 of these 22 schools over the last six to seven weeks. This enables the precautionary measures in these schools to be removed as the work is completed," said the update on the schools' remediation programme issued by the Department of Education.

The Portlaoise schools are also listed in a table of 14 schools with 'permanently remediated' in the headline.

However, pictures taken at the Summerhill school campus, where the schools are located, reveals extensive evidence of construction work being carried out on Monday, August 19.

Workers could be seen busily working in both schools as the clock ticks down rapidly to the first day of school.

The Leinster Express understands that both schools have undergone extensive reconstruction internally to secure the structures. External walls have had to be resecured to the internal wall through the installation of new wall ties.

School principals at both schools are expecting work to be completed to allow reopening as normal in the coming weeks.

However, the Department has also said fire safety measures must also be carried out.

Maryborough National School, the third school on the Summerhill campus, will have to undergo repairs next year or in 2021 after being given the all-clear late last year. It was also built by Western Building Systems. 

The three schools opened in 2013. 

Presentation Primary School in Portarlington is also listed as having been 'permanently remediated'.

The contract to build the three Portlaoise schools was reportedly worth €8 million to Western Building Systems under the Department of Education and Skills’ Framework for Rapid Build Schools.

When it won the contract it in 2012 it was claimed the entire campus would be delivered within a 36-week programme – ahead of the new school year in September 2013. 

Problems with the buildings were revealed late last year after problems were revealed at a school in Dublin.

The Department confirmed on Monday, August 19 that works are ongoing and nearing completion in Gaelscoil Portlaoise, Portlaoise Educate Together and the Presentation Convent NS Portarlington.

It said it has been in contact with the schools and on-site updates are being provided in the coming week