Monday 23 October 2017

Wexford secondary school makes way for progress

By David tucker

Down it comes - the CBS Secondary School is flattened.
Down it comes - the CBS Secondary School is flattened.
Reduced to rubble - the old CBS Secondary School is flattened.

THE CBS Secondary School is no more, the crumbling and now flattened buildings making way for the foundations of the gleaming new school that will be built on the site.

And while the old buildings - some dating back to the '40s, didn't merit any forensic archeaology, teacher Joe Ryan was eager to briefly point out a tiled wall that had been exposed after being hidden for years and which had finally fallen victim to one of the diggers carrying out the demolition.

The school was once home to many of the town's current personalities, among them Chief Supt John Roche, senior council engineer Gerry Forde, radio journalist Alan Corcoran and former mayor George Lawlor who said he wouldn't be shedding any tears over the demolition.

But he felt a certain amount of nostalgia.

'I remember the building of the previous major development at the school which was when I was studying for my Inter Cert.. we used to amuse ourselves by hurling pieces of construction debris across the half-built GP room,' said George, a student at the secondary school from 1981 to 1986.

'It was always open house in that you go and use the pitches outside the school hours..

'It's very different these days,' said George, recalling some of the more memorable teachers during his time at the school - Brother Michael, Mena and Joe McNicholas, Declan Curran and Maura Coleman.

'There was always a great atmosphere and it was a good place to be,' he said.

Teacher Joe Ryan said there was a certain amount of nostalgia on the part of former students familiar with the old building, but there was also a sense of excitement about the new school development.

'The section of the school that is being demolished dates back to the 1940s and was built on land given in trust by the Devereux family,' he said.

He said the extension to the 1940s building followed the introduction of free education and was built in the late 1960s.

'What we called the senior corridor cost £100,000 to build at the time and in the 1990s it cost the same amount £100,000 to repair the roof which is an indicationn of the rate of inflation over the past years,' said Joe.

Retired teacher and former CBS brother Jerry Whistler said it was great to see the progress but sad to see the old place go. 'It's where I began my teaching career back in 1980 and I spent five very happy years there.

Brother Sreenan was my Principal, followed by Bro Michael O'Grady. Sean Byrne was Deputy Principal, and among my colleagues on the staff were Tony Boland, Mick Waddell, Pádraig Ó Creimín, John and Mena McNicholas, Ann O'Riordan, Maura Coleman, Bro. John Gibson, Bro Jack Casey, Tom Connon and Bill Whitney.

'Margo Thomas was School Secretary, and the many others whose names have faded from my memory after all these years,' he said. 'The "Boker" gave me a great introduction to teaching and I will always remember that and I will never forget the great years I spent in Wexford CBS.' While work on the new school us under way, the 'old' school has relocated to temporary premises behind the primary school on what was the school pitch. Secondary School Principal Michael McMahon said that in around 15 months time the plan would be to move from the temporary premises to the new build, the €11 million project involving both the secondary and primary schools. The project, which began in July last year, consists of two extensions to CBS Primary School and CBS Secondary School which will link the two buildings. The work is being carried out by contractors Mythen Construction and will be carried out in phases to allow the schools to remain in full operation.

Wexford People

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