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Rural Laois primary school unveils plans for a brand new building with a modern twist

Gaelscoil Shlí Dála has unveiled plans to build a brand new primary school at their current location in Ballaghmore.

The school, which has two mainstream classrooms and two early intervention ASD classrooms, is located adjacent to the Kyle GAA pitch on the border with Tipperary.

These classrooms are currently porta cabins but it is hoped that students will sit in a brand new multi million euro facility on the same grounds at some point in 2024.

We visited the Gaelscoil last week and principal Treasa Uí Chinnéide outlined the plan.

She said: “We received planning permission in May and the contract has been given to Roadmaster.

“So what we are getting is what would be called a ‘modular building’ and that can be constructed over a number of months.

“I have learned that modular buildings are really just porta-cabins clicked together like Lego with a connecting corridor and a roof over it all.

“It will look like a regular building in every way and it will be painted. There will be big windows with lots of light. Same concept as the modular homes that are being built in the country at present.

“So currently we are packing up and will be off site. We are then heading across to Kyle GAA where we will be placed in temporary accommodation until Christmas.

“During that time, everything here will be demolished and the site will be prepared for the new building.”

There will be two new classrooms, a SET classroom and two ASD classrooms including a sensory area.

There will also be a new hall to replace the existing community hall and it will be capable of hosting concerts and a range of events.

Thor Design and Management are the design team which are led by Hugh O’Rourke.

Plenty of fundraising has taken place to help the school with this project and the school lotto has been significant in this.

Principal Treasa also thanked the local community who, just as they have done since the school was established in 2005, have been there every step of the way.

She said: “Gaelscoil Shlí Dála is inextricably linked with the local community. The Parish Pastoral Council have kindly given the land on which the this new school will be constructed.

“They have also leased their Community Hall to Caterpillars Childcare. The school have forged close bonds with the local GAA Club, Kyle.

“This year for the second consecutive year the GAA club and the school staff have organised the very successful Kyle’s Fittest Family, as a community event and a fundraiser for both the school and GAA.”

The school is governed by a very active, passionate and supportive Board of Management under the chairmanship of Liam O’Neill – former GAA president and Trumera native.

While parents are actively involved through the Parents Association under the chairmanship of David Buckley.

Teresa said: “Liam has a great love of Irish and is very actively involved in our school.

“Liam has been on the board for many years and through his hard work, he has secured funding of €1.7 million, which will be increasing, to build our new school.

“We are very grateful to Liam. He has taken an active role in all of the negotiations with the design team.

“So we are very appreciative to him, the entire board of management and all of our parents and supporters who have gone above and beyond to make this project a reality.”

While in the short term Gaelscoil Shlí Dála is not expecting to expand, principal Treasa said the space is there if needed.

She said: “We are not there yet but our learning support room is made bigger than the standard to accommodate a third classroom should we need it.

“And we would expect that we may need that in the fairly near future because of the childcare facility that is coming on site – we are expecting to expand.”

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