Work on the new Curraghmore National School, Mullingar, is to be completed by July, members of the Mullingar Municipal Council were assured at their April meeting on Monday afternoon of this week.
They were assured that the county council would monitor the situation the best they could.
In reply to Cllr Andrew Duncan, the members were told that the provision of a pedestrian crossing will be considered when the heavy work has been finished.
Principal and staff remain cautiously optimistic
Questions as to whether Curraghmore National School’s new home on the Ardmore Road in Mullingar will be ready in time for the start of the academic year in September are mounting.
A delay in the installation of windows is the latest setback at the €5m project, which was originally due to be completed for September last year.
The completion date has been postponed seven different times, much to the frustration of parents and staff.
“We were told that the windows would be in by the end of March, the latest now is that there are due on site on April 16,” Michael Molloy, principal of Curraghmore NS, told the Westmeath Examiner this week (before the matter was discussed at a meeting of the Mullingar Municipal District committee meeting on Monday afternoon).
“It’s another delay as electrical works or plastering cannot be carried out on site until the window are in,” he said.
“It leaves it very tight for the new deadline of opening in September,” said Mr Molloy.
“There’s still an awful lot of work to be done with it to have it ready in time.”
Despite this, Mr Molly and his staff remain cautiously optimistic.
“I am hopeful that it will be ready in time, but the fact that we were given seven different completion dates is a worry.
“We are basing next year’s enrolment decisions and numbers on the fact that we will have a bigger school – so that’s very serious if it doesn’t happen,” said Mr Molloy.
“Given the serious implications for everyone if it’s not ready on time for September, I would expect everyone to put their shoulders to the wheel, so to speak, to ensure the school is ready.”
At present, some 70 per cent of the school’s 287 students are being educated in rented prefab buildings. The school population is set to swell to 333 next September after the board of management were given commitments that their new home would be ready in time for the start of the academic year.
School management have regular meetings with representatives from Westmeath County Council, who are overseeing the Department of Education funded project, and the construction firm PJ McLoughlin. A school source said that it is hoped that a final completion date will be provided at the next meeting.