State-of-the-art school welcomes 345 students

by Ian Begley

St Andrew’s National School has opened its doors for the first time to its new, state-ofthe-
art building in St Edmundsbury, welcoming 345 students.
After many delays and uncertainty regarding the construction of the school, the new premises boasts modern facilitates, including a sport’s hall, 16 classrooms, special needs assistants, and a computer lab.
Local Minister Frances Fitzgerald attended the school’s welcoming ceremony on September 2 and was welcomed with a bouquet of flowers by Reverend Scott Peoples, chairman of the board of management, along with several school children.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fitzgerald said: “I am delighted to join with Reverend Peoples, the teachers, staff, parents and most importantly pupils on this joyous celebration.
“We are celebrating this fantastic new building, a wonderful, c o l o u r f u l , s t a t e – o f – Minister Frances Fitzgerald is welcomed by students with a bouquet of flowers the-art home for this school. The hard work and determination of the school community has brought this project to fruition.
“I worked with the Department of Education, the state solicitor and the Office of Public Works (OPW) to secure acquisition of the site, which proved to be a complex matter.
“I assisted with a number of legal issues involved in the project and to progress the development of the
school to ensure the project progressed in a timely and efficient manner.
“I visited the school’s p r e v i o u s l y c r a m p e d and ageing facilities on a number of occasions
and I know that the school community has displayed plenty of patience and perseverance in that time.
“ T h e p r o j e c t w a s a long road, and saw numerous challenges including the economic situation.
“I want to say well done and keep up the good work to the teachers and staff of this school, led so ably by Julie Chapman (principal).
“I congratulate the children on their performance and I wish the staff and their students the very best in this new school,” she said.
Last year Peoples slammed the OPW for lack of communication with school officials regarding delays
t o c o n s t r u c t a n e w school on the lands at St Edmundsbury.
At the time Rev Peoples expressed his frustration to The Gazette, saying that after years of seeking a new school for St Andrew’s, the OPW failed to keep school officials up to date on its progress.
Now, Rev Peoples said that he was very happy with the progress that has been made and wished the school staff and students the very best into the future.
S p e a k i n g t o T h e Gazette, he said: “The school are very happy with the new building, and I’m delighted that it has opened at last.
“We’re very pleased with the new state-of -the- art building, including the brilliant location that the school is now in.

“The school grounds now span eight acres in total, compared to the old site in Chapel Hill where we had just 0.8 of an acre.
“The students have settled in very well and I’m sure they’ll be very happy with their new building,” said Rev Peoples.

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