The new Loreto school takes shape
former Minister, Deputy Brendan Howlin, and former Mayor, Cllr George Lawlor, each played significant roles in promoting the cause of the new Loreto Secondary School in Wexford, the first new secondary school built from scratch in the town since the CBS in the 1870s.
So it's perhaps not surprising that George got a privileged first look at the school as it nears completion. In fact it's about a month from being handed over.
Wearing a hard hat, goggles, rubber boots and a hi-viz vest, George was given the grand-tour by contractors involved in the long-awaited project.
Work started two years ago on the 900-student school on a 10.3 acre site at Ballynagee 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 scale is amazing,' said George.
'From the outside it doesn't look anything like it is, but once you get inside, the only word that suits is spectacular,' he said.
'It's a tremendous addition to education in Wexford.'
When it's completed, the new school, which should, according to the principal Billy O'Shea, open before Christmas, will have a full-size GAA pitch, hockey pitch, three ball courts, car and cycle parking and a drop off area. The school building itself, sub-divided into two district blocks, ranges from two to three storeys, with the physical education hall providing direct access to the GAA and hockey pitches. A camogie pitch wil only be seeded in the spring, but other pitches already have Astro Turf surfaces. Under the PPP model, the schools, and others on the programme, were designed, built, financed and will be maintained for 25 years by the Inspired Spaces Consortium.
The day to day caretaking, maintenance and cleaning of the school will be managed by Inspired Spaces leaving the management and staff of the school with more time to concentrate on their core educational activities.