A TENDER competition to find a design team for the upcoming Athy College extension project has concluded in recent days, with a team set to be appointed over the next two to three weeks. The team, including architects and surveyors, will develop the final drawings of what the school will look like following completion of the approximately €10 million development.
Following the design stage, the project will progress to planning permission and then – once successful – construction.
According to principal Richard Daly, Athy College was originally built to cater for 400 students and the extension will bring that number to 1,000. “Which means that it will be more than twice the current size,” he noted.
New facilities will include an additional four science rooms and a new sports hall, practical rooms, and around 20 additional classrooms for general use. Mr Daly also explained that part of the current building will be demolished to put in foundations for the extension.
“It’s pretty vast,” he said.
The extended school will cater for increased numbers in the catchment area. Mr Daly said that over the last 10 years Athy College has yet to conduct a campaign of visiting primary schools and encouraging enrolment, but without any encouragement its enrolment has “boomed beyond belief”. The school, he said, has been over capacity for the last two years.
He added that while Athy College would have been satisfied with a small extension, it was the Department of Education which crunched the numbers and suggested a move to at least a 1,000-pupil school.
“We are aware that the primary school population has increased dramatically,” he said. “Over the next, let’s say, three/four years there’s going to be an enormous boom here that will push all of our second level schools to capacity and beyond.”