Donegal County Councillor Martin Harley has welcomed confirmation that St Mary’s National School in Stranorlar has been given the green light to draw up a shortlist of builders for major development.
Mr Harley, who worked on the St Mary’s Board of Management for several years, revealed that the Department of Education has written to principal Fintan Keating in recent days to authorise a list of eight potential contractors be sourced.
Councillor Harley said: “Construction on this big project is now expected to kick off in 2019.
“Over the next two to three months the Board of Management and principal Fintan Keating will be working hard on selecting a number of contractors that would be the right fit for this job.
“It is a hugely important piece of work. It will invigorate the school, the staff and pupils and the local community. Ultimately it will transform St Mary’s with 24 new classrooms, a PE hall and resource teaching rooms, and it will allow for a huge increase in enrolment.
“Pupils coming to St Mary’s in the not too distant future will be learning in a state of the art facility and we can guarantee that it will reap dividends for the people of Stranorlar and Ballybofey and the surrounding areas for years to come.
“The aim is that the St Mary’s project will have an environmental ethos with the development being a Near Zero Energy Building.
“I would like to thank Donegal TD Joe McHugh for his help across Government in getting this over the line.
“It was a Fine Gael Government that got St Mary’s into the Department of Education Capital Plan for 2016-2021 and it is a Fine Gael Government that is giving the parents, pupils and teachers of St Mary’s a roadmap to a new future of learning.”
Councillor Harley said the Department of Education has confirmed that this major school building project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning involving detailed design and the application for statutory approvals and preparation of tender documents.
Councillor Harley added: “We can look forward to officials in the Department of Education liaising with the Board of Management of St Mary’s by mid-September to progress the project to tender.
“Through myself and Joe McHugh as Donegal TD and Government Chief Whip we will continue to stay on top of this project and ensure that before long the youngsters of Ballybofey-Stranorlar are walking into a school fit for any community in the country.”