27 Jan 2022

New Offaly second level school building moves a step closer

New Offaly second level school building moves a step closer

New Offaly second level school building moves a step closer

PERMISSION for the appointment of a design team for the planned new school building for Ard Scoil Chiaráin in Clara has been sought from the Department of Education.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen confirmed this week the new school building will be located on lands at the old Parochial House, Drayton Villa, which was purchased by Offaly County Councl last year.

He said that Laois/ Offaly Education TrainingBoard and the council last week concluded their collaboration relating to Drayton Villa property and lands.

“As envisaged when purchased last year by Offaly County Council it is intended the lands would accommodate a newly constructed school for Ard Scoil Chiarain,” he confirmed.

“Other provision would include set down parking and shared playing fields for adjoining primary schools Scoil Phroinsias Naofa and the Covent of Mercy. It is also envisaged that the lands would accommodate housing provisions and a town park incorporating Chapel Hill,” revealed Deputy Cowen.

He said he contacted his colleague Education Minister Norma Foley seeking that the design team for the new school “be approved and progressed.”

Added Deputy Cowen: “I have and remain in contact with my colleague Cllr. Frank Moran, Offaly County Council and Laois Offaly ETB about the future use of existing Ard Scoil Chiarain after facility is constructed.”

Various considerations will be explored and considered as part of a feasibility study including:

* Relocating Youth Reach as an anchor tenant in the building

*Provision of FET courses in the town, including those at QQI level 6 to respond to an identified need, enabling onward progression to courses provided by Athlone/Limerick Technical University.

* Skills to advance courses for those who have recently found themselves unemployed

* Remote working hub to complement the current provision of the Midlands Network of Co-working Facilities

* Facility which could host international symposia related to the internationally recognised environmental landscape of Clara Bog, in addition to the Clara Bog Visitor Centre.

Meanwhile, Deputy Cowen has been notified by Minister Foley's office of approval to go to tender for an extension to the Sacred Heart School in Tullamore which will incorporate a new arts room.

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