By Olga Aughey
There was great jubilation in Mercy Secondary School in Kilbeggan on Monday afternoon as word filtered through that planning permission had been granted for the construction of a new two-storey, 650-pupil school.
“We are thrilled that permission has been approved for a new state-of-the art campus on the Dublin Road in Kilbeggan,” said a “delighted” Garett Farrell, principal of Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan.
“We have crossed the outline planning stage, we have crossed the An Bord Pleanála stage, we feel that we have crossed our own ‘Becher’s Brook’ if you will.”
Permission is included for new general teaching and administration rooms, as well as a PE Hall with fitness suites, a special needs unit which will have four classrooms compared (the current unit has two classrooms), external stores, ESB substation, 58 staff car parking spaces, and 70 cycle spaces.
There is also provision for a new bus and car set-down and pick-up facilities, two basketball courts, hard and grass play areas, soft landscaping, new vehicular and pedestrian site entrance and exit points and all associated site development works.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Mr Farrell.
“The students’ families have been so patient and so supportive because the planning process has been ongoing for almost three years now.
“We cannot wait for the next step – which is go to the tendering process.
“Currently we have 580 students, and the new school allows for 650, so we’re almost at capacity for our new school and really the back story here is how everyone manages to get along within the confines of the current school campus.
“The fact that we will now have a dedicated special needs unit, which will allow for four classrooms – we already have two special needs classrooms, and also, a state-of-the-art gym, as well as state-of-the-art practical rooms.
“These are the facilities that our students and staff deserve,” he said.
“We have to thank the Department of Education, who have stood by us and supported us every step of the way to make this happen,” said Mr Farrell.
The proposed development also includes for works outside the site boundary including a new footpath and cycle lane along R446 road, new street lighting posts, connection to existing foul sewer network via rising main, traffic calming measures including median islands, new road markings and alteration to existing road markings.