Keys ready for long awaited new special needs school in Laois

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Keys ready for long awaited new special needs school in Laois

The new St Francis School in Portlaoise.

The big long-awaited day is about to happen for the new St Francis Special School in Portlaoise.

A new purpose built school for 100 children with learning disabilities, is finally finished on parish owned land on the Borris Road.

Cllr Noel Tuohy who is on the board of management, announced the imminent handover of the keys during the council meeting on Monday April 26.

“St Francis School is receiving the keys at the weekend. It is a state of the art school and the kids are entitled to it. Fr Paddy Byrne is an extraordinary man who has put his shoulder to the wheel from the start,” he said.

Fr Byrne who is Chair of the Board of Management expressed hopes recently that it would open to the pupils by May. 

The school is under construction since 2018 by MEIC. It was first promised to be ready in September 2018 as a Rapid Build project by the Dept of Education, as part of a two school €12.3m project. The other school is a mainstream primary school in Kildare. It was given priority for completion after lockdown.

The new St Francis School replaces an outdated poorly insulated, cramped prefab structure on the Timahoe Road. Parents had been requesting a new building for some years.

Below: the present St Francis School.