The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., congratulated Louth County Council today on the delivery of a new 16-classroom primary school in Drogheda, Co. Louth. This is the first school to be delivered by a local authority on behalf of the Department of Education & Skills (DES) under new arrangements aimed at building schools more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The building project is providing a new primary school with a capacity for up to 480 pupils for Scoil Oilibhéir Naofa on the Ballymakenny Road in Drogheda. The school is currently operating from prefabs. From September, pupils and teachers will be moving into their brand new state of the art school.
The approximately €3.4 million project was managed by Louth County Council and was delivered on time and within budget.
Speaking today, Minister Quinn said, “I want to congratulate Louth County Council on the hard work involved in bringing this project to completion. They worked closely with my Department and the school community to ensure delivery of phase 1 of a state of the art education campus for the benefit of all in the Drogheda area.”
Phase 2 of the campus development involves the provision of a new 1,000-student post-primary school. Both of these schools have been prioritised in order to cater for the growing population in the Drogheda region.
“Following on from the success achieved with this primary school project, Louth County Council has recently entered into an agreement with my Department to deliver the new post primary school on the same site,” said the Minister.
The Minister also announced this week that the patronage of the new second level school in Drogheda is being jointly awarded to County Louth VEC and Educate Together.
Minister Quinn said: “I am committed to using alternative methods of delivering major school building projects in order to maximise the number of projects we deliver and to speed up delivery. With a huge increase of more than 70,000 school going students expected over the next six years my priority is to ensure that every one of those pupils has a physical place at school.”
The new arrangements, which saw Scoil Oilibhéir Naofa delivered today, involved the devolution of the project to Louth County Council. These arrangements allow the DES another mechanism within which to deliver major school building projects effectively. It in turn frees up resources within the Department and sees those with knowledge on the ground in local authorities and VECs employing their skills locally.
Cardinal Sean Brady is the Patron of Scoil Oilibhéir Naofaand the new building was formally handed over to the Patron’s representative today.
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The Department had traditionally devolved responsibility for the management of minor projects to VECs and individual school authorities. This practice has facilitated the delivery of a greater number of projects for the same level of administrative and technical resources. Based on the experiences gained from this process the Department has now initiated a process whereby Local Authorities, VECs, OPW and the NDFA have been given responsibility for managing the delivery of major projects under a Service Level Agreement arrangement.