12 June, 2012 - Pilot Study on School Accommodation to commence

Tenders sought for pilot study in five major areas

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has confirmed that tenders are now being invited to undertake inventories of school accommodation in five pilot areas across the country.  A tender notice was published by the Department today.

The pilot inventory will be conducted in the following locations:  Tuam (Co. Galway), Navan (Co. Meath), Clonmel (Co. Tipperary), Portlaoise (Co. Laois) and part of Limerick city. 

Speaking today, Minister Quinn said, “While we have significant information on facilities in individual schools, we currently have no structured system for gathering and storing this data nationally in a horizontal manner that facilitates decision making on a spatial planning level.

“These pilot exercises will enable us to identify the best and most cost-efficient way to gather the information and to establish which data is most valuable and applicable in future planning terms.

“The project meets a Programme for Government commitment that the Department’s ‘central database of school accommodation will be overhauled to ensure a complete inventory of school buildings and associated structures is maintained so deficiencies are easily identifiable’.

“I look forward to drawing on our experience with the initial five pilot exercises to inform the approach to developing a national inventory of school infrastructure,” concluded the Minister.

The study will involve a detailed survey of existing school facilities in the five areas, an appraisal of school sites and school site options in the areas with reference to Local Authority Development Plans, and an overview of wider educational facilities, community assets and public amenities in each of the areas. 

The Department currently uses the latest in Geographical Information System (GIS) technology, drawing on geo-coded school and demographic information, to assist in planning future school requirements.  The intention is to integrate more detailed school inventory information into the GIS system to provide further layers of information that will assist the Department in identifying local options when considering future school development requirements.