PLANNING permission is being sought for a multi-million euro extension at Coláiste Iósaef in Kilmallock which, if given the green light, will see the secondary school cater for 650 students.
The new building will feature 12 new classrooms, two new science laboratories, a new technology room, a language laboratory, an IT suite, a tiered music and drama suite and a lecture hall. Significantly, it will also feature a full-size state-of-the-art gymnasium and an attached fitness suite which is to be made available as a community facility in the evenings.
“It has taken a while I admit, but I think it is going to be fantastic,’ said Seán Twomey, school principal.
“We’ve worked closely with the architects and county council planners to ensure that everything is in line with them before lodging formal planning notification. I hope there won’t be any delays as this is not just a new school building but a new community facility,” he added.
There are currently 560 students enrolled at the school and when completed, it is expected it will cater for 650 students.
“It’s a progressive design and quite large. The extension will be connected to the main building by a glass tunnel. It is also aimed at bringing the school centrally into the communities we serve. We have a parking area outside the new gym and internal divisions to allow maximum usage,” added Mr Twomey.
This building project process began under the guidance of the former County Limerick VEC - now the Education and Training Board - under former CEO, Seán Burke and has continued under the new stewardship of Limerick and Clare ETB CEO, George O’Callaghan.
The architects involved in the project have been Healy Partners.
“The extension has been necessary as a result of student number growth but it has also involved a lot of work from many partners – our trustees, the ETB, the Sisters of St Paul, our parents association and the staff and students,” Mr Twomey added.
The building will also boast a new staff room.
“The teachers have, thankfully, been patient. They are a great staff but it is tight in the current staff room which has over 40 teachers in a small area,” Mr Twomey explained.
“Most of all though, this is for the students, it can be hectic at lunch time especially, and the increased space and new facilities will add to the educational experience.”
Mr Twomey is hopeful that if given the green light, ground will be broken in January or February and the extension would be ready in time for the first-year students of 2016.
“I am looking forward to the first digger coming on site in Coláiste Iósaef and having seen how quickly the new Gaelscoil in Castletroy was built, I am sure it will fly up afterwards,” added Mr Twomey.
The Coláiste Iósaef open night will be held on November 6 in the school at 7pm where prospective students and parents will receive further details on the expansion plans.