The vacant building which was home to St Paul’s Primary School on the Borris Road in Portlaoise, and will become home to St Francis School, now has a clear timeline for demolition and reconstruction.
Following a meeting with Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, Minister for Justice & Equality Charlie Flanagan has confirmed the news to LaoisToday.
He said that a contractor will be appointed in the autumn and it will take them eight weeks to fully demolish the existing site.
The new building will take 44 weeks to complete and hopefully students will begin life in the new school for the start of the 2019 academic calendar.
He said: “‘The St Francis School building project is currently at tender stage. A Letter of Intent for this project issued on 29th June 2018.
“The Letter of Acceptance appointing the contractor is expected to be issued in Quarter 3 of 2018.
“The first element of the building contract will be the demolition of the school which remains on the site.
“The demolition programme is 8 weeks and construction programme is 44 weeks. Completion and hand-over is expected to be Quarter 3 of 2019.”
The building has been idle since the students finished over 12 months ago and moved to the new Holy Family schools in Aghnaharna just off the Stradbally Road in September 2018 – and has suffered significant vandalism and become a site for much anti-social behaviour over the last couple of months.
The building and site is owned by Portlaoise Parish – but they are giving it over to the Department of Education who will build a new school for St Francis School, who are currently based on the Timahoe Road in a building past its sell by date.