THE extension to Athy College, which will more than double the capacity of the school to 10,000 students, could be delivered within two years according to school principal Richard Daly
The principal said the issuing of a Schedule of Accommodation by the Department of Education and Skills last week, is the first step in a process, which should see the multi million investment progressing to design and build over the next couple of years,
The proposed extension will incorporate an extended sports hall, four additional Science labs, 20 additional classrooms, a music suite, a custom built special needs unit and much more.
“We are delighted that the department has responded so promptly to our extraordinary growth,” said Mr Daly who said the typical timeframe for a project like this is 18 months to two years.
Athy college opened its doors in 2010 and has trebled student numbers in the intervening eight-year period. The school is installing three temporary classrooms this September to meet demand in the interim.
Board of Management Chairperson Cllr Aoife Breslin paid tribute to the committed staff and management of the school which she remarked “has been the education success story of South Kildare”.
“Not only is this an outstanding opportunity for future generations it also represents the most significant financial investment in the town in many years. The availability of school places makes Athy a more desirable location for people to live and the increase in employment will have a huge spin off to local business”.
Local TD Martin Heydon expressed his delight that the new extension would provide over 500 additional places. “Athy College has been very generous in sharing its resources with other schools on campus and the local community, so this investment has spin off benefit to hundreds of young people and the town of Athy.
Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin also welcomed the news. “The department must now move to accommodate other areas in Kildare South such as St Paul’s in Monasterevin who have been waiting 16 years and Newbridge/ Kilcullen area who do not have enough schools for the influx of children and families to the area”.
Deputy O’Loughlin chairs the Oireachtas Education Committee which last week heard from St Paul’s Monasterevin principal Brian Bergin who outlined the 16-year wait that teachers, pupils and parents have had for a new school. He, along with members of St Pauls Board of Management also outlined in detail the issues and challenges faced by pupils and their teachers in the existing school building.