GANSON Builders from Ballbriggan have confirmed they have won the contract to build the new community college in Naas.
Though they could not yet declare a start date, Cllr Evie Sammon – Kildare’s representative on the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB), the patron of the new school – said she expected “the site notice to go up this week”.
The new Naas Community College, at Millennium Park, across from the Kerry Group, was already held up for more than a year after a flood assessment was ordered by the Planning Department last year.
The new school which was granted planning permission in April 2017, will cater for 1,000 pupils across 37 general purpose classrooms, six science labs, two woodwork rooms, two engineering rooms, two art rooms, a mediation room, physical education hall, library and ancillary rooms.
Hard play areas and an all-weather pitch will also be provided.
This news will be gratefully received by Headmaster Ciaran Keegan and his staff who are currently running their academy off three separate campuses – at Craddockstown, Piper’s Hill and Naas GAA – and having to spend an estimated €24,000 a year on shuttle buses.
Construction of the new school is expected to be completed in time for the new school year in September 2021.
Ganson Builders are well experienced in this field, having recently completed very similar school in Kingscourt in Cavan.
The pressures on the tri-sited school led to Fine Gael Senator Anthony Lawlor last week call for more temporary classrooms to be installed to cover demand at Craddockstown, and this was confirmed in the short term by Minister Joe McHugh.
“The use of three non-adjacent sites means staff and students must travel between locations to teach and participate in school curriculum activities. The sites are located at opposite ends of Naas. This is a very difficult and time consuming situation for students and staff,” said Senator Lawlor.
“The other pressing concern is that of classroom places for September 2020. There are 320 applicants for first year in Naas community college 2020. The school will only have space to accommodate 120 pupils,” he pointed out.
In response to Senator Lawlor’s Seanad question the Minister replied “Officials from the Department of Education and Skills recently met school representatives of KWETB in respect of that matter. Approval was given at that meeting for KWETB to proceed with a revised brief for the provision of temporary accommodation. That is being progressed as a matter of priority.”
“I assure the House that KWETB, in close consultation with officials in the Department of Education and Skills ……is progressing the additional temporary accommodation required to meet the school’s needs until the new school building is ready.”