HOPES have been dashed yet again at St Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin as work on the new building has been postponed due to a legal case.
Now 13 years since the school was officially listed for redevelopment, the community was informed this week that the project faces yet another delay. Eighteen of the 27 classrooms at St Paul’s are prefabs and students numbers, from when it was first listed for development in 2005, have more than doubled from 200 to 446.
“I’m just exasperated by the whole process,” said principal Brian Bergin. “This is way and above what I got into the job for.”
He said this most recent development is just the last in a long line of delays and that a neverending addition of prefabs continue to take up more precious space on the school’s two-acre site.
“We’ve no yard space left,” he said. “The lads can’t even play a game of football. It’s very, very difficult to plan anything. Our numbers are growing year on year and they keep adding temporary accommodation.”
The Department of Education has said that the latest delay was caused by a court case related to the tendering process. It stated advised that no further comments would be made until the case goes before the court on 26 November.
Members of the local action committee held a public meeting last week seeking answers to the delay.
“The school has been waiting 16 years for the new building and concerns have been made for years from the teachers, students and parents,” said TD Fiona O’Loughlin. “Teachers have no staff room and old, damp prefabs are in use.”
“In May I was assured that this new building was top priority for the Department of Education over any other building project in the country and now we are forced to wait for the outcome of the legal case before any progress will be made on delivering the new building,” she said.
It was previously hoped that the new school would be delivered before the end of 2019 but the department must now wait on the legal case to be resolved before any developments can be made.
Mr Bergin said in the meantime it is very difficult to manage year on year. He said he hopes the department’s legal representation give the case the attention it deserves.