Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has confirmed that contractors are being actively sought to construct a new school building for St Mary’s National School, Stranorlar.
"After intensive and consistent lobbying by me since my re-election to Dail Eireann and the complete dedication and hard work on the part of the school authorities, the school is now included on the current eTenders list of active projects. Contractors are being sought for this sizeable construction project at present with the school being included on eTenders list published on the 7th of September for pre-qualification of eligible contractors for the eventual contract," Deputy Gallagher stated.
Deputy Gallagher added the new school building will consist of 24 new mainstream classrooms, PE hall, and a suite of resource rooms with ancillary rooms.
The new school building will be situated on a 5-acre site, which was purchased in 2009 by a previous Fianna Fail Government and the new building will easily cater for the future enrolment needs of the school which could reach a potential 700 pupils in the years ahead. St Mary’s National School currently has an enrolment of 448 pupils and its numbers have been steadily growing over the past number of years – therefore the new school building is essential to meet its future needs and demands.
"St Mary’s National school is easily one of the most important school building projects within the county at present, and were it not for the previous Fine Gael Government decision to remove the project from the 2011 – 2014 Capital Building Programme for schools - this school could well have been built now but, today's confirmation by me guarantees the new school buildings’ future added Pat the Cope.
He added: "It was in that context, that I have, in conjunction with the school authorities and school management worked tirelessly and extensively to get to this juncture whereby pre-qualification of contractors is being sought through eTenders. "The tender information sought must be returned by the 1st of October and thereafter the necessary appraisals will be carried out and a full confined tender of the approved contractors will immediately follow for the new school building. In order for us to get to this position I had previously arranged deputations from the school to meet Department officials, I raised the issue on numerous occasions in the Dail and placed numerous Dail questions in order to move this project forward," stated Deputy Gallagher.
"The department officials have confirmed to me once tenders are returned the initial appraisal of the tenders will be swift as a great deal of the preparatory work is already done for this project. I am calling on the Government to fast track the full appointment of a contractor for this project due to the chronic over crowding in the existing school building and the associated health and safety concerns added Deputy Gallagher.
"I for my part will continue the intensive lobbying of the Department in an effort to move this project seamlessly to actual construction on site in Stranorlar so that in the earliest possible timeframe we will ensure this school is completed and available for future generations of school going children in the Stranorlar Ballybofey areas. It is essential that we continue to invest in school building in order to give every opportunity to our future generations," concluded Deputy Gallagher.