Site revealed for the new Kolbe Special School in Portlaoise

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois special needs school building 'totally inadequate' says principal

Kolbe Special School in Portlaoise, on a waiting list for a new building.

A new greenfield site has been announced for the new Kolbe Special School in Portlaoise.

The school on the Block Road teaches 30 boys and girls with severe disabilities. It relies on prefab classrooms around a small building to fit all its young vulnerable students.

It is on the Department of Education's list for a new building, and the project brief is now being finalised, with a site identified.

Laois Offaly TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan announced today June 12 that it will be built in the HSE owned grounds of St Fintan's Campus in Portlaoise.

"With regards to Kolbe Special School, a new school will be built on the grounds of St Fintan’s and will cater for up to 48 pupils. The schedule of accommodation for the new school has been developed in consultation with the National Council for Special Education and has issued to the school authorities.

"The Minister (Richard Bruton) has informed me that the Department of Education is currently finalising the development of the project brief with a view to progressing the project into architectural planning at an early stage,” he said.

A new building for Kolbe is included in the Department's six year capital programme. It would be a 2,265 m2 single story building project to include eight classrooms, a general purpose room, library, resource area, woodwork, art room, exercise therapy room and various ancillary spaces. The new school will increase the capacity from 39 to 48 pupils.

Another prefab is being delivered to the school shortly, but a new building is what is needed, the principal Orlagh Mahon told the Leinster Express recently.

“For the number of pupils we have enrolled in Kolbe Special School the building is totally inadequate. We are on the building list for 2018 and for the sake of the pupils, parents and staff we are hopeful that planning will commence in this calendar year,” she said.