€24.5m investment confirmed for new home for Portlaoise's newest school

Dunamase College in line for major investment

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

portlaoise laois

Some students of Dunamase College with parents and staff on opening day in 2017.

The Department of Education has approved €24.5m for the construction of a permanent school building for Dunamase College in Portlaoise.

Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) Chief Executive Joe Cunningham said this was a great step forward and would provide certainty for the school community and those wishing to enrol their children at the school in coming years.

Principal Aoife Elster said that LOETB has started the process to procure the technical expertise and it hopes to have the Design Team in place by the end of December.

The site for the permanent home for Dunamase College was acquired by LOETB during the summer. It will have access from both the Timahoe road and the roundabout at the primary school campus where Educate Together, the Gaelscoil, and Maryborough are based.

It will be home to a school facility that will cater for up to 1,000 students in order to meet the growing needs of post-primary level in the Portlaoise catchment area.

Liam O’Neill, Chair of the Board of Management at Dunamase College, welcomed the news highlighting the certainty it now gives.

“We are delighted with how the school is developing and, while the site has been secured already, progressing to the design and construction phase is timely and will strengthen the educational development of the school,” he said. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Local Councillors Caroline Dwane-Stanley, Catherine Fitzgerald, and Mary Sweeney are members of both the boards of LOETB and the Dunamase College. They welcomed the funding commitment and hoped it could now progress without delay.

The LOETB says a dedicated ‘park and stride’ facility will be a key feature that will allow parents of students attending all schools in the area to drop off and collect their children in a safe manner and allow students walk to and from their destination school

Dunamase College opened in September 2017 and has a current enrolment of 320 students. The school offers education through the medium of English in the mainstream setting and education through the medium of Irish in the Aonad Lán Ghaeilge which allows students to study all curricular subjects as Gaeilge.

The LOETB is the patron of the school which is located on Railway Street at present. Student classrooms are located in the former CBS secondary school and former vocational school which is the main building.

Some of those who started at the college in 2017 will sit their leaving cert in 2022.