Local school’s plans for extension ‘shelved’

by Gazette Reporter

The long-awaited extension for new classrooms and a sports hall for Castleknock Community College has been shelved leaving school representatives shocked and disappointed.
Thousands of euros have already been spent on design work for the two-storey build that was to include 10 new classrooms and a much-needed sports hall.
Planning permission for the build was granted by Fingal County Council in July 2011. An appeal to An Bord Pleanala was withdrawn in September 2011.
Over the past few months, the parents’ association at the school have been in discussions with local representatives to find out why there was no movement on the project.
“It had been our understanding that everything was on track. However, following a Parliamentary Question put down by Patrick Nulty last October, which we only came to know of in January, the school is not included in the current schools building plan, which is for the next five years,” chairperson of  parents’ association Carol Pitcher told the Gazette.
“No one decided to tell us it’s been shelved… We’re shocked and disappointed,” she said.
According to Pitcher, the school has taken in additional students and is working to capacity with 1,100 students at the school. “More classrooms are needed, prefabs are falling apart. There is no place in the school to have proper PE. There is the hall, but it’s just fit for assembly. Despite this, the school has fantastic [sports] results, it seems people think we’re ok, but we are having sports in a hall that can’t cope,” she added.
A meeting between school representatives and the Department of Education took place on March 4 and the parents’ association committee feel it’s important to share the outcome with the community and are holding a meeting on March 19 in the school hall at 8pm to send a message out that the school community “is not accepting this” and will fight to get the project “back on track”.
In a statement to the Gazette, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education confirmed the “major building project” for the school is at an “advanced stage” of architectural planning. However, due to competing demands on the Department’s capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, “it was not possible to include this project in the five-year construction programme announced in March 2012,” the spokesperson said.
“School building projects, including this project, which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in future years,” the spokesperson added.

Related Articles