Work on the new school building for the overcrowded St. Mary’s National School in Stranorlar has gone out to tender, it has been confirmed.
The Department of Education has reached the final stage of development for the new 24-classroom primary school for Scoil Mhuire at Mill Brae.
The new school building will provide 24 new mainstream classrooms, PE Hall and a suite of resource rooms. The 5 acre site will also allow for further expansion in enrolment up to 720 pupils.
Stranorlar Municipal chairperson Cllr Patrick McGowan has expressed his delight at the news and heaped praise on the school community and representatives who worked to get the project off the ground.
Cllr McGowan said: “I attended the existing St Mary school many years ago and I can vouch for the fact that there is an urgent need for a new school which will be located close to the Finn Valley centre where former Fianna Fáil Minister Mary Coughlan give permission to go to planning in 2011.
“The parents and children will be delighted this morning to learn the new school project is at last moving into its final stage.”
Cllr McGowan added: “Great praise must go to Leas -Cheann Comhairle Pat the Cope who push the Government relentlessly over the last number of years to build a new school in Stranorlar.
“There will be plenty claiming credit for this progression over the next while, but I know only for the Leas Cheann Comhairle’s insistence this new school project would still be in some Department officials office drawer.”
Cllr McGowan said that the school community showed great resolve and determination in securing the works.
“Great praise must go to the Principal, Board of Management and the staff of St Marys NS who have worked tirelessly to get this project to the stage it is now currently at,” he said.
Councillor Martin Harley Welcomes Progress on New School for Stranorlar
Department of Education confirms project for St Mary’s going to tender to select construction team
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher said “After intensive and consistent lobbying by myself since my re-election to Dail Eireann and the complete dedication and hard work on the part of the school authorities the school is now included on the current eTenders list of active projects.
“Contractors are being sought for this sizeable construction project at present with the school being included on eTenders list published on the 7th of September for pre-qualification of eligible contractors for the eventual contract.”
Pat the Cope added the new school building will consist of 24 new mainstream classrooms, PE hall, and a suite of resource rooms with ancillary rooms. The new school building will be situated on a 5-acre site, which was purchased in 2009 by a previous Fianna Fail Government and the new building will easily cater for the future enrolment needs of the school which could reach a potential 700 pupils in the years ahead.
St Mary’s National School currently has an enrolment of 448 pupils and its numbers have been steadily growing over the past number of years – therefore the new school building is essential to meet its future needs and demands.
He added that St Mary’s National school is easily one of the most important school building projects within the county at present, and were it not for the previous Fine Gael Government decision to remove the project from the 2011 – 2014 Capital Building Programme for schools – this school could well have been built now but, todays confirmation by me guarantees the new school buildings’ future added Pat the Cope.
He added “It was in that context, that I have in conjunction with the school authorities and school management have worked tirelessly and extensively to get to this juncture whereby pre-qualification of contractors is being sought through eTenders.
“The tender information sought must be returned by the 1st of October and thereafter the necessary appraisals will be carried out and a full confined tender of the approved contractors will immediately follow for the new school building. In order for us to get to this position I had previously arranged deputations from the school to meet Department officials, I raised the issue on numerous occasions in the Dail and placed numerous Dail questions in order to move this project forward stated Pat the Cope.
“The department officials have confirmed to me once tenders are returned the initial appraisal of the tenders will be swift as a great deal of the preparatory work is already done for this project. I am calling on the Government to fast track the full appointment of a contractor for this project due to the chronic over crowding in the existing school building and the associated health and safety concerns added Pat the Cope.
“I for my part will continue the intensive lobbying of the Department in an effort to move this project seamlessly to actual construction on site in Stranorlar so that in the earliest possible timeframe we will ensure this school is completed and available for future generations of school going children in the Stranorlar Ballybofey areas. It is essential that we continue to invest in school building in order to give every opportunity to our future generations,” concluded Pat the Cope.
Donegal County Councillor Martin Harley has welcomed confirmation of a tender for the 24 school classroom for the school.
Councillor Harley, who worked on the St Mary’s Board of Management from 2009 to 2017 years, said: “I said back in June when the search for construction teams began that work on this big project was expected to kick off in 2019 and now this announcement is a sure sign of significant progress.
“I raised the huge need for this project with Education Minister Richard Bruton last year at the Fine Gael conference and I am really delighted to see the ongoing progress. We brought many delegations to the school and we maintain regular contact with officials in the Department of Education through the offices of Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh to push this project.
Mr Harley said: “The Department of education confirmed that the plans for the development for St Mary’s NS have gone to tender to build 24 new classrooms, a PE hall and resource rooms on a five acre site.
“The new school development will allow St Mary’s to expand further and enrol up to 720 pupils in state of the art facilities.”
“I’d like to pay tribute to principal Fintan Keating who really has driven this in the decade or so he has been at the school and through the eight years when I worked on the Board of Management. Everyone working in the school showed great determination to help us get this project to this stage.
“It will be a bright future for the pupils and teachers and another signal of what this Government is delivering for Donegal.”
One aspect of the project is the aim for St Mary’s to have an environmental ethos with the development being a ‘Near Zero Energy Building’.
Donegal TD Joe McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, said: “I was in contact with principal Fintan Keating over the weekend to share the good news of progress for St Mary’s in Stranorlar.
“I am delighted for Fintan, the board of management, the staff and for the parents and pupils who are currently at the school and for the parents and pupils who will be part of the school community in the future. It’s a new era for the community of Stranorlar.”