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Saturday 20 April 2019

Official opening of the €12m CBS secondary school

Past pupil Brendan Howlin TD performs the official opening. Also in the picture are Gerry Forde, chairman of the school’s Board of Managemen, and Michael McMahon, school principal
Past pupil Brendan Howlin TD performs the official opening. Also in the picture are Gerry Forde, chairman of the school’s Board of Managemen, and Michael McMahon, school principal
Ryan Kavanagh speaks on behalf of the students.

Pádraig Byrne

After years of waiting, the official opening of the new €12 million Wexford CBS building took place with a special ceremony on Friday. An Edmund Rice school with a history of providing education for boys in Wexford going back to 1849, it now boasts state of the art facilities for 640 pupils and 50 staff.

Having been on the waiting list in the Department of Education for over twenty years, the new build was finally sanctioned seven years ago after many disappointments and false dawns. Planning was secured in 2015 and construction started the following year. Master of ceremonies for the historic occasion was CBS Deputy Principal John Hegarty who also serves as a member of Wexford County Council. He welcomed the large crowd to the official opening which was held in the new Gym hall. Among the attendance were past pupil and Labour Party leader Deputy Brendan Howlin, Minister Michael D'Arcy, James Browne TD, Mayor of Wexford Tony Dempsey, Cllrs George Lawlor, Ger Carthy and Tom Forde (another past pupil), current and past chairpersons and member of the school's Board of Management and Parents' Council, current and past staff, principals of local primary and secondary schools, representatives of the Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) as well as representatives from the builders Mythen's Construction and the architects KOBW.

Speakers at the event included Chairman of the Board of Management Gerry Forde, Leo Hogan from ERST, Catherine Busher O'Sullivan from the Parent's Council, Ryan Kavanagh of the Student's Council and Principal Michael McMahon who spoke of his delight to have reached this point. The opening was performed by Deputy Howlin, while Fr Aodhán Marken blessed the school with the assistance of Fr James Cullen and Rev Conor O'Leary.

Those present heard the wonderful history of the school, stretching back to 1849 when it started out at the site of the current Faythe school before moving to a building on George's Street in 1853. Such was the popularity of the school that 192 boys turned up on the first day and up to 80 boys were turned away due to there not being sufficient space for them. The school moved to its current location in Green Street in 1875 with the financial help of local businessman Richard Devereux and has been expanding since then. However a new school has been necessary since the 1990s and after a lengthy and frustrating wait it has finally arrived. The project was not without its challenges, as 640 students and their teachers remained on site in prefabs during the build. Some of the rooms from the old school were also incorporated into the new school during the construction which lasted two years.

Following this journey, the school is now home to state of the art science labs, language labs, a music room, computer rooms, woodwork rooms, tech graphics rooms a library, a state of the art gym and fitness suite and an impressive ASD unit, which will benefit students for generations to come.

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