€1.8m school extension to deliver better autism facilities

€1.8m school extension to deliver better autism facilities
Work in progress on the extension to Morning Star NS in BallyphehanePicture: Eddie O'Hare

A €1.8m extension is underway at a Cork primary school which will see a huge upgrade to its Autism Spectrum Disorder facilities.

Morning Star National School in Ballyphehane caters for boys and opened its own ASD facility in 2013 with one class of six students.

The school now boasts three special needs classes and one early intervention class for three to five-year-olds, with a maximum of six pupils per class.

The new extension will see one of the current rooms refurbished and a new building constructed.

It will include facilities three classrooms, sensory and withdrawal rooms as well as shower facilities.

A second large multi-purpose room and sports hall will also be constructed.

Principal Donal Deasy explained the school was struggling for space

“We have a multi-purpose room in the school and that was housing everything from our computer area to our staff room, resource rooms and storage.

“We had very little space over the past few years; my own office was a resource room as well.

“The staff have been brilliant and really creative in creating space for the kids and their activities,” he added.

“The new extension will transform the working, teaching and learning environment in the school.

“Parents and staff, as well as the Cork ETB (Education and Training Board), have been very supportive in getting this project up and running.

“We’ve had to wait a few years for it but we’re delighted now it’s underway.” 

The extension is expected to be completed in April next year with the bulk of the work being carried out this summer.

The project will also see the school’s playground expanded as they begin to share recreational pitches and facilities with Colaiste Stiofan Naofa.

The school has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the extensive project, which can be found on the Morning Star NS Facebook page.

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