A major new extension to the new St Francis Special School on the Borris Road in Portlaoise has been announced.
In recent times St. Francis Special School moved into their brand new building, having moved from the former location on the Timahoe Road, Portlaoise.
The new school comprises of 12 classrooms and all new facilities.
However, Laois TD Sean Fleming says that it immediately become clear that more classrooms were needed to cater for the demand.
Deputy Fleming said: “Since last May, I have been working extensively with St. Francis Special School and Minister Foley and her officials in the Department of Education to get approval for this new four classroom extension for St. Francis New Special School.
“Immediately it became obvious that this school was not big enough to cater for the demand and I commenced work with the school to seek an additional four new classrooms.
“It goes without saying that this was a surprise to the Department but I convinced them that the condition of the old school prefabs on the Timahoe Road were so unfit for purpose that many people had stopped enrolling their children in the school because of that situation.
“This resulted in the normal level of enrollments that should have taken place over a number of years not occurring.
“As a result, when an appropriate building became available the normal level of enrolment resumed which led to the need for additional classrooms.
“I visited the school and met with Department officials on numerous occasions and all eventually agreed that 4 new classrooms was the maximum that the new school site could take. This has now been approved by the Department.
“This is great news for families in Laois who want their children to attend this new school.
“I look forward to the plans being drawn up and the completion of this project to be fast tracked as soon as possible and I am confident that this will happen.
“Finally, I want to thank the Board of Management, the Principal and the staff and all involved in the school community for their work and dedication to the children in this school.
“This will allow the enrollment of new students from this September who will be facilitated on a temporary basis in the current building until the new extension is completed.”