laois’ largest national school will continue to rely almost totally on rented prefabs for at least another three years.
This week local TD Brian Stanley is calling on the government to speed up the completion of building plans for Scoil Bhride in Knockmay, Portlaoise. The parish school is awaiting a new 32 classroom building to replace 26 prefab classrooms, recently approved for planning permission. The school has just eight permanent classrooms.
Dep Stanley is asking that the school be prioritied, adding that the prefabs cost €160,000 every year in rent.
“It’s important that work on Scoil Bhríde is progressed immediately. It is the largest school in the county with over 750 pupils and there is a huge population growth on the western side of the town in which the school is situated. It has slipped in the order of priority without any reason given. They are about to complete the Architectural Planning Stage and are ready to go with the next phase and I am calling on the Government to fast track the completion of the process to final construction,” he said.
Last week the Leinster Express reported that four classes of 96 junior infants enrolled at the school, but another 60 names remain on the waiting list. With two 6th classes leaving last June, further pressure is now on the school.
Portlaoise Parish’s three other primary schools are also full to capacity with waiting lists. They are set to move to two new schools to be built on a greenfield site at Summerhill, off the Stradbally road, expected to be compete for the 2014 school year.
Stanley believes that parents waiting for a place at Scoil Bhride may have to switch to the new schools.
“Many parents will be forced to enrol their children in the new schools in Summerhill, thus greatly increasing the volume of traffic crossing town” he said.
He is also calling for urgency in Ballyroan, where the boys and girls schools are awaiting a new school building.
“The amalgamation of Ballyroan boys and girls schools needs to be moved on. 17 new pupils are enrolling in the boys school this year which has very poor accommodation. The existing school building is in very bad condition and the existing prefab is totally inadequate. The parish bought extra land at the girls school to accommodate the amalgamation and were informed by the Department that this would allow work to proceed. This has been long fingered ever since and needs to be finalised as a matter of urgency,” Dep Stanley said.