TWO schools in the city environs which operated out of prefabs for years are to finally get a permanent home.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has confirmed that work is to commence on new buildings for the Limerick Educate Together college in Mungret, and the Gaelscoil an Raithin.
Both schools are to move into state-of-the-art accommodation side-by-side at the northern part of the old Mungret College site, recently acquired by Limerick City and County Council.
With 16 classrooms each, it is anticipated both schools will cater for around 450 students each.
Labour City TD Ms O’Sullivan said she hopes builders will be on site early in the New Year, with students ready to move in by September 2016.
“Both of these schools have been operating in very difficult circumstances for a number of years since they were established, and these are offering options for parents in terms of an Educate Together school and a Gaelscoil. There have been a growing number of children in that area, so it is good news, particularly for that side of town,” Ms O’Sullivan told the Limerick Leader.
The number of construction jobs likely to be created in Limerick is not available, the Minister said, as this will form part of the tendering process to take place shortly.
But as part of the national building plan, around 3,800 jobs will be created, she said.
Labour councillor Joe Leddin, who represents the Mungret area on the local authority said it is his hope that during 2015, a secondary school will also be confirmed for the site, to create a “multi-educational campus” allowing students seamless access from primary to secondary education.
This is crucial, he said, in light of the refusal of An Bord Pleanala to sanction an extension to Colaiste Chiarain in Croom.
“Half of the student population which go to Croom are from Limerick. I canvassed the whole Raheen/Dooradoyle area and met parents whose kids were going out the door at 7am for five years of their life. It was absolute bedlam. We have a 200-acre site, and I will be looking for a secondary school now. That is the big challenge for 2015,” he said.
Cllr Leddin also welcomed the new primary schools, saying: “It is wonderful news for both school communities who have waited for many years in unsatisfactory conditions. Collectively both schools have hundreds of young children the majority of whom are living in the general vicinity of Raheen and Dooradoyle. On a personal level I am delighted that Minister O’Sullivan was able to bring a speedy conclusion to this process and I know all of the school community are now looking forward to advancing the construction plans in 2015.”
The two schools in Limerick were among a list of 70 new builds and extensions planned for 2015.
This includes an extension to Shannon Comprehensive School in Co Clare.