Setback as contractor pulls out of Loreto Wexford deal at 11th hour
THE long-awaited start on the building of a new Loreto secondary school has been dealt a blow after the winning contractor pulled out of the deal the day before the sod-turning was due to take place.
Former mayor Cllr George Lawlor said he was not aware of the reasons for the contractor's decision to withdraw from the project. The sod-turning on the multi-million euro project had been due to take place at 12 noon last Friday (November 13).
'It's now going to the second name on the list of approved contractors,' said Cllr Lawlor who, along with Minister Brendan Howlin, has campaigned for many years for the creation of the new school.
Asked whether, the contractor's withdrawal was a major setback for the development, Cllr Lawlor was putting a brave face on the decision: 'It will take a couple of weeks to get the paperwork in order, so it's a minor setback.. we would have liked to have seen the job up and running, but we've been waiting for 20 years, so another couple of weeks is not going to make a great difference.'
The Loreto development on a greenfield site, once earmarked for housing and a nursing home, will see the creation of a two- and three-storey school building with state-of-the-art educational and sports facilities.
There were no objections to the 900-student school which will be built off the Duncannon Road at Ballynagee and which it is hoped will open by early 2017.
The 10.3 acre site is bounded to the east by the Whiterock residential estates, to the south and west by agricultural land and to the north by the R733 Duncannon Road.
The school will have a full-size GAA pitch, hockey pitch, three ball courts, car and cycle parking and a drop off area.
The first five months of the project will cover the creation of new roads, site fencing and services.
The new Loreto will be the first new secondary school built from scratch in the town since the Christian Brothers in the mid-1870s. The school building itself, which will be sub-divided into two district blocks, will range from two to three storeys, with the physical education hall providing direct access to the GAA and hockey pitches.