A NEW school building for a national school in Cork will create a fantastic learning atmosphere for its students, according to the school’s new principal.
Dan O’Connor took up the role of principal of St Columba’s Boys National School, which boasts just under 400 students, in Douglas on Thursday. However, the school was in the final stages of a three-year build and was unable to open to students and staff then.
All that was remedied yesterday as the new building, which features 24 new classrooms, a three-classroom ASD unit, occupational therapy facilities and more, was unveiled to students, parents and staff.
Construction on the school grounds began three years ago with the initial phase erecting temporary accommodation for the students and staff. The school spent two years in temporary accommodation and Mr O’Connor said they were looking forward to the day they entered the permanent building.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be here now,” he told The Echo. “The children’s eyes lit up when they came in and saw the place.
“They’re doing tours now and they’re delighted to be seeing all the new rooms and facilities,” he added.
“It’s just a fantastic place to bring children into and to allow them to learn.
“The parents will be delighted to once they get to see the inside of it.”
As well as 24 brand new classrooms, the school has been able to provide state-of-the-art special needs facilities.
“We have our ASD unit, which we’re calling our Cairdeas unit, which houses three state-of-the-art classrooms,” said Mr O’Connor.
“It also has an occupational therapy hall and a safe area - it’s fantastic.
“We have four Cairdeas classes with six students in each,” he added.
“The teachers in our units have put in so much work to upskill in recent years so to be able to give them this new building and resources to put to good use is just brilliant.
“Over the last few years, our Cairdeas students have been integrating more and more into our mainstream classes and now they have a new building and new resources to help facilitate that even more which is great.”
Mr O’Connor explained that the size of the new school building and facilities encompassed within will allow the school to develop further in the future.
“It’s an exciting time for the school and community.
“We’re in the new building now and we’ve a bit of work to do to make it into the school we want but the initial design is just superb.
“It gives us the ability to develop the school more and more,” he added.
“It might take a while to get the rooms we want up and running, such as an Aistear room and a Lego and Science room, but we’re looking forward now to developing even further.”