Minister Donnelly pledges to keep new 1000 student Greystones School on track to open in 2024

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said he will “work hard” to ensure that the project to build a new 1,000 student post-primary school in Greystones, Co Wicklow opens as planned in September 2024.

Cairn Homes announced last Wednesday that they have signed a contract with the Department of Education for the sale of an 11.5-acre site on the edge of town.

It will become the home of Greystones Community College, which opened on temporary campus in August 2020 and is based on the grounds of the Ere Og Club.

Following a tender process, the Education Department plans to begin construction of the new school in 2023.

The provision of schools to serve the city and its hinterland is playing with the rapid population growth in the area,

The new school will be adjacent to Cairn’s Hawkins Wood residential development, which is currently under construction, and its completed Glenhearn development.

The initial sale of land to the department was announced in January 2021, but was subject to Cairn obtaining full planning permission

Wicklow County Council recently granted full planning permission for the school, designed by Cairn in conjunction with the department.

Minister Donnelly said: “This is great news for everyone involved in the school as it opens the way for the construction of the school. The next step will be to bring a contractor to the site and shovels into the ground as soon as possible.”

“The original timeline was for new school openings for September next year, but the reality is that it is likely to be September 2024.

The minister said: “The new school has been designed in such a way as to allow the possibility of rapid construction, which means it can be completed within 18 months.

“It is likely that a design team will be appointed by December with a start date in January next year. It is important that the construction of the school takes place on time and the deadline is met, which is something that has to be ensured. I will work hard. “

Jennifer Whitmore, Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, said: “It has been a long and difficult journey for the school and I have been in contact with principals, teachers, staff and parents for many years as they campaigned to take the project forward. Students have been waiting a long time to work in permanent, fitted classrooms.

“However, the demand for school places in the area is continuously increasing and hence I am urging the department to go ahead with the tender process at the earliest so that the building can start at the earliest.

“I hope there are no unnecessary delays as the project progresses and will be in contact with the school throughout the tender to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.”

A Cairn spokesperson said the company’s involvement with the site ended upon the grant of planning permission and that the construction of the school was a matter for the Department of Construction.

The site is fully serviced and the proposed new school will include 57 classrooms, a 1,000 square meter PE hall and gym and six outdoor hard play court areas. The new school will have a seating capacity of 1000 students.

Greystones Community College is a multi-sectarian school that operates under the tutelage of Kildare Wicklow Education. Greystones Community College now caters to over 300 students.

Principal Rueri Farrell said that working in temporary housing over the years presented many challenges, and the school’s students, parents and staff welcomed the clarity on the school’s future housing.

“Our students deserve access to state-of-the-art facilities. The school management looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Department of Education and KWETB to make our permanent school building an instant reality,” he added.

They said they look forward to fast-tracking the development of the building so that the school can meet the unprecedented demand for places.