Following two years spent in temporary structures in Swords, Holywell Educate Together National School recently celebrated the arrival of their brand new permanent school building, a move warmly welcomed by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD.
The highly-anticipated completion of the Holywell school was just one of six new school buildings delivered under the department’s Rapid Delivery programme.
Developed in 2007, the programme provided an innovative response to the need to deliver schools quickly in areas experiencing rapid population growth, where there was no existing school, or where the existing provision was unable to meet demand.
This round of the programme involved the construction of four new Dublin schools in Swords, Balbriggan, Mulhuddart and Lucan, as well as two extensions for schools in Swords and Portarlington, Co Laois.
The principal of Holywell Educate Together National School, Maria Boyne, said the staff, parents and pupils of the school are “delighted” with the new building.
“To try and explain where we came from, we were in prefabs for two years. We had no facilities and had nowhere to do PE. We didn’t have a library, we just had a yard and PE was dependent on the weather. So to have this fantastic school, a state-of-the-art facility, it’s just phenomenal,” she said.
“It’s just great for the community and I suppose in a time of gloom and doom with the recession and other financial pressures, to see that money has been invested in education and in the community is fantastic.”
Welcoming the new buildings, Minister Quinn said: “This year’s Rapid Delivery Programme will provide fantastic, modern school accommodation for some 3,300 pupils overall.
“Significant challenges lie ahead in terms of the need for additional accommodation to meet increased demographic demand for school places. I am well aware of this need and last March, I announced a five-year construction programme to address this, with €1.5 billion being spent on 275 major new projects.”
While Holywell National School benefited from the programme by gaining a brand new 24-classroom school, community facility and special needs unit, the Thornleigh Educate Together National School, Swords, received a 10-classroom extension and general purpose hall.
Scoil Chormaic Community National School, Balbriggan, also welcomed a new school building with 16 classrooms and a community facility.
The delivery of these projects provided over 1,700 additional school places, with pupils benefiting from modern energy-efficient buildings and improved learning environments.