THE multimillion euro extension and refurbishment of Ardscoil Rís was officially opened this Monday, almost fifteen years after it was first mooted.
Past and present students gathered at the school on the North Circular Road for the official opening, which was carried out by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, who unveiled a plaque and planted a tree to mark the completion of the project.
The cost of the works, which were completed last summer, came to just over €11m with parents raising around €1m of the total.
Plans for the extension and refurbishment were first raised in 1999 but it wasn’t until 2009 that works finally got underway, having secured Government funding.
However, even then it wasn’t all plain sailing as the main contractor, Cordil Construction, was placed in receivership in May 2011, resulting in a 17-month delay in the completion of the project.
The new state-of-the-art building incorporates specialist teaching rooms, laboratories, a canteen and a multi- functional sports hall.
The original school building has also received a face-life as have the sports pitches to the rear of the school, which first opened in 1963.
“Modern facilities in a school improve not only the school’s physical environment but also the learning culture of the school,” said Bríd de Brun, who has been principal of Ardscoil Rís since 1998.
“Today, we see the long-held dream that was started back in 1999 brought to a reality as this state-of-the-art building stands as a physical symbol of the bright future of our school community,” she added.
Prior to the official opening of the extension, members of the school community attended a special mass which was celebrated by the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.
Previously, Pope Francis imparted an Apostolic Blessing to the Community of Ardscoil Rís, which was founded by the Christian Brothers.
Helen Casey, chairperson of the Parents Council, says she’s delighted that the extension has finally come to fruition.
“It is a culmination of a lot of months and years of hard work by the principal and staff. It’s a huge contribution to education on the north side of the city especially for an all boys school. It was one of the first all-boys schools on this side of the city so it is a continuation of a huge tradition,” she said.
This Monday also saw the official launch of the history of Ardscoil Rís by one of its former students - Pat Cox.
Written by Dr Donal Blake, the Christian Brothers Congregation historian, “Fifty Golden Education Years in Limerick 1963-2013: Ardscoil Rís Comes of Age,” has been published to mark the Golden Jubilee of Ardscoil Rís.