'This has been a long time coming': Green light for complete refurbishment of Cork school

'This has been a long time coming': Green light for complete refurbishment of Cork school

School principal David Thomas said the proposed refurbishment represents a "good news day" for the Bishopstown school. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A Cork primary school has been given the green light for a complete refurbishment.

A design team has been appointed for the refurbishment of St Gabriel’s Special School and grounds, with phase one due to begin in early January 2022.

The school principal, David Thomas, said the proposed refurbishment represents a “good news day” for the Bishopstown school.

“We have had past boards of management, past parents’ associations, pupils who have come and gone who have been waiting for this new school. It is a very joyous day for everybody here,” Mr Thomas said.

Mr Thomas said the refurbishment work is “badly needed”,with the school built in the 1960s.

“St Gabriel’s was never designed as a special school,” Mr Thomas said. 

“Our past principals did their absolute best. The staff, pupils, and the parents keep this place standing. We have 43 pupils in the school. We have been capped at 43 students for the last several years, because of our size. It will give us greater capacity going forward.”

It is envisaged the works will take up to 18 months.

“There is going to be a major refurbishment on the original school,” Mr Thomas said. “It will be happening on a phased basis. It will deliver a modern and energy-efficient building that optimises the use of the property to meet our long-term accommodation needs.”

“We will have access to 10 classrooms to provide future capacity, as well as all the support rooms that we need. Everything will be state-of-the-art,” he said.

The school principal said it will “usher in a new era” for the school.

“This has been a long time coming. The parents have fought hard for this. Margaret Lordan, our past principal, worked very hard to get us to a new school. I am very lucky to be on this part of the project.”

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