Detail of the new school building for Newpark Comprehensive

CONSTRUCTION is due to begin this year on the long-awaited new school building for Newpark Comprehensive, according to a letter sent to a local Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillor by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.
In the letter from the Tanaiste, Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind) was told: “Following my representations on your behalf, I have been informed by the Department of Education and Skills that the project for Newpark Comprehensive School was included in the Minister for Education and Skills announcement on December 10, 2012 as one of 50 major school building projects to proceed to tender and construction in 2013.”
The Tanaiste went on to say that tenders for the school refurbishment project were issued in February of this year, and that a design team was currently going through all of the submissions.
“The preferred party [contractor] will then be requested to procure a bond and to submit the necessary insurance and confirmation certificates etc that are required to complete the tendering process.
“However, it should be noted that this is a process which can take a number of months to complete,” said the Tanaiste’s letter.
The principal of Newpark, Derek Lowry, spoke to The Gazette about the good news.
He said: “We are getting a brand-new school after asking for it for more than 13 years, and we’re absolutely delighted work will start on it this year.
“Conditions had deteriorated over the years – imagine [by] how much, considering that we were looking for a new school 13 years ago.
“It has been very difficult to maintain the infrastructure of the building to a proper standard and emergency work needed has cost a lot of money, which parents and the Department of Education have provided.
“Our campus is open from 7am until 11pm, so it’s used all the time.
“We will have to inhabit temporary accommodation for two years while the new school is being built, and this will be a challenge, but we have to keep our eye on the final goal.
“We have 830 [students] at the moment, and the new school will be the same size [to accommodate that number],” said Lowry.
Local Independent councillor, and a former Newpark student, Victor Boyhan called on the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, to announce a commitment date for the rebuilding of Newpark before the school closes for the summer recess.
He said: “Successive governments have had a great record of making promises but a poor track record in delivering for Newpark.”