It’s full steam ahead as builders are due to be announced within the next ten days for the interim accommodation for Claregalway’s new secondary school Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, which was granted planning permission last week.
The project is now moving along so rapidly, that not alone is the interim accommodation due to come on stream on schedule, but the permanent site for 1,000 students may also be announced within a matter of weeks.
“We are delighted to have got the go-ahead from the planning authority and it is a busy but exciting time for all involved. The number of potential first year students is rising every week and now stands at 159,” says new principal Alan Mongey.
“We also hope to have news on the permanent site for the school to accommodate 1,000 students within four or five weeks,” he added.
The new principal says the facility is very important, not alone for Claregalway but for all the surrounding areas.
“Up to now pupils from primary schools in this area were going on to fourteen different secondary schools and we hope that the new Coláiste Bhaile Chláir will be an additional heart for the whole community,” he added.
Alan Mongey also highlighted that the VEC intends to advertise for teaching staff in all subject areas in the coming weeks in addition to the advertised positions for caretaking and cleaning staff last week. He stated that there had been huge interest in teaching positions in the school from all parts of the country, with teachers even indicating that they are willing to leave permanent positions in order to gain a position in this new school.
In welcoming the granting of the planning permission the CEO of Co Galway VEC, Joe McDonagh, stated that this was yet another important milestone on the journey towards the provision of second level education in Claregalway. He complimented the Dept of Education and Skills officials and the office of Galway County Council on their extenseive co-operation and collaboration in progressing the planning process to its fruition.
“The on-site building programme commences in the next few weeks but much work has been done off-site in recent weeks in anticipation of planning being approved.
“The building programme is on schedule and such is the confidence of the Department of Education and Skills in meeting the deadline of August 26 that they have reduced the phasing of construction from three phases to one phase. This will see the construction of all class-rooms and assembly hall before the school opens,” says the CEO.
Meanwhile Pat Gilmore, Chairman of Co. Galway VEC who is also the chairman of the board of management of the new school says everybody is delighted that the planning permission has now been granted and they can work towards getting the interim building ready.
“It is now full steam ahead for the development and I am very pleased that all the parents are now re-assured regarding the commencement of the school.
“We in the VEC are also very happy that is is in the capable hands of new principal Alan Mongey who is so enthusiastic about the whole project,” he added.
Alan was formerly principal at Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry, having been appointed there in September 2008.
He is married to Lorraine McGrath, daughter of Leo and Mary from Carrowmoneey, Tuam who teaches at Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew and the Mongey’s have two children Sarah (5) and Conor (4).
Alan (36) is a native of Slane, Co. Meath and he preveiously served as a Department of Education and Skills inspector from 2004–2008. He also served as an education officer with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, during which time he played a leading role in the establishment and organisation of the new T4 technology subjects support service for teachers.
The initial meeting of the new board of management of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir was held two weeks ago and the board has commenced the preparation of the required school policies as well as other governance issues.
It is understood that a Galway firm will be announced by the end of next week as the builders for the interim school facilities. This will create further local jobs and as much of the structure will arrive in a partially assembled state it will be possible to assemble it quickly on the site at Claregalway Corporate Park.
While the National Roads Authority made observations and requested some additional safety measures such as footpaths they did not object to the grant of planning permissions once the Department of Education, Galway Co Council and the VEC agreed to the proposed changes.