The closing date for new tenders for accommodation to house Scoil Bhride and Gaelscoil Eadan Doire in Edenderry is just three weeks away, and this week a spokesperson for the Department of Education said it’s still possible that both new buildings will be in place to welcome students in September 2014.
However local councillor Noel Cribbin has expressed doubt students will be in new schools by the beginning of the next school year, saying this week teachers and parents look to be heading for more disappointment after the projects failed to be completed to welcome students at the beginning of this school year.
New buildings for both schools were given planning permission last year, and quick build projects taking 26 weeks were due to be completed by the beginning of last month.
However in May it was confirmed that quick build projects would not be going ahead after tenders received were in excess of the norm for similar school projects.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent today (Thursday), Sarah Miley from the Department of Education said the closing date for tenders for the new school buildings is now October 25, and that it was hoped to get the projects started as soon as possible after that date.
She added that while she can’t confirm the length of the building project, it’s entirely possible that everything could be in place by September 2014.
Labour councillor Declan Leddin from Edenderry said this week he is in regular contact with parents and staff in both schools, who are anxious that the new schools are delivered as soon as possible, particular as both schools are currently in temporary accommodation that’s not viable in the long term.
Fianna Fail councillor Noel Cribbin isn’t confident however, particularly because tenders for the new projects are still not sorted.
“This to me is very worrying as with no tenders completed and the length of time that it would take to block build not one but two schools and to have them completed by next summer is a big ask,” he said.
“To let this project drag on and on with no firm commitments on start up and finish dates and the builder not even chosen yet...one has to question again the big rush to sell the council land on the back road to the Department for the school site,” the councillor continued, questioning whether building the schools on land previous earmarked on the Dublin Road would have been a better road to go down.
“However I intend to keep the pressure on the OPW to get this build up and running and I ask those that in government to do likewise,” he said.