Plot of land bought for school extension

Colaiste CA

Mary FogartyWicklow People

The Department of Education has bought a 4.19 acre site beside Coláiste Chraobh Abhann to facilitate the school extension.

The extended secondary school will be able to accommodate a total of 1,000 pupils.

'The acquisition of this site was a priority for myself and the Board of Management since my appointment in February 2019,' said school principal Oliver Stack in a letter to parents and students.

He said that the acquisition will help the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) who are delivering the extension project which is well under way.

Mr Stack said that WS Atkins Ireland Limited was recently announced as the consortium lead on the project management design team.

'On completion of the project, it will allow us to accommodate 1000 students from the wider community,' said Mr Stack.

'I would like to thank KWETB and the school's Board of Management for their assistance and ongoing support in acquiring this site which will allow Coláiste Chraobh Abhann to accommodate the increasing numbers and demand for places as we continue to be the school of choice in the area.

'The acquisition of this site will ensure we continue to serve the wider community with the highest standards of educational excellent in a community where mutual respect prevails.'

Cllr Tom Fortune, chairperson of the school board, said that the expansion of the school will be great for the community. 'The board of CCA are delighted,' said Cllr Fortune. 'Our Principal Mr Stack and his staff are delighted and his tenacity has been a great asset. This will enable him to plan properly for the future, we look forward to working with him and his staff on this. The parents in our community are delighted.

'We sincerely thank the KWETB , our TD's, and Department of education for their input and assistance, we appreciate it. This has been a long road. It started 9 years ago and it really took off two years ago. It involved meetings , emails , letters, arm twisting . It is a great day for our community.

'The immediate challenge we have now is to make sure we have the promised temporary accommodation in place for school reopening in September. This is vital and we need all hands on the wheel to ensure this happens.'

Meanwhile, work continues on temporary additional accommodation at the school, comprising four temporary classrooms, a metalwork, and seating for 120 students, and toilets.

'I'm absolutely delighted to hear the Department has purchased the site next to the school because CCA is in desperate need of additional space,' said Minister Stephen Donnelly.

'However, CCA have now been told there may be a delay on their temporary accommodation for August.

'I'll continue to work with the school to try and get this issue resolved with the Department as soon as possible.

'It's really important the school know what facilities they will have to accommodate the students at the start of the new school year.'

Deputy John Brady said that the news is positive. 'A lack of school places in the area has caused much concern for parents and students over the last few years,' he said. 'Many children from Kilcoole had been turned down for school places in Coláiste Chraobh Abhann due to a shortage of space, and it became one of the big issues in the last General election.

'Well done to the Principal Mr Stack, the school's Board of Management and all the parents and students involved in the "A Place For All" campaign that ensured that the political focus was kept on the issue, their collective efforts have ultimately led to this positive announcement.'

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