Fears grow over Glenamaddy School

Pauline Scott A major public meeting is to be held in Glenamaddy on Monday as concerns grow over the provision of a new community school building for Glenamaddy Community School.  In 2001, Coláiste Seosaimh, Glenamaddy was amalgamated with St. Benin’s Vocational School in Glenamaddy, resulting in a campus stretched over two school buildings at different ends of the town. At the time a new school building was promised by 2003. Planning permission for the new building was secured, but is due to expire in June. If work has not started by that date, a new planning permission application will have to be made and School Principal James Duignan is worried that this could result in a new site having to be acquired. ‘The planning permission for the school expires on June 10th, 2008 and if construction does not commence before this date, it means that a new application will have to be made. Given the previous difficulties in securing the permission, this could effectively scupper the plan. It may also result in a new site having to be acquired. The current site was transferred as part of the Redress Board process,’ said Mr. Duignan. Amalgamation ‘We understand the project is to cost €8.75 million. Approximately €1 million must have been spent on the design and planning side already. The new building was promised as part of the amalgamation process in 2001. The school community were told the handover would take place in September 2003. We are essentially in a contingency situation since. ‘We work out of three separate buildings, two almost a mile apart, the old Convent house and five prefabs. There is an asbestos roof on part of one and a leaking roof on part of another that was condemned in 2000. A shuttle bus transfers the students from one campus to another at either end of the town. There are obvious health and safety issues surrounding this practice, together with the logistical and cost factors of the shuttle bus. ‘The heating system is antiquated, the gun barrel piping is rotten in the ground. Four new boilers have been installed in the past five years. This is unsustainable, throwing good money after bad. There are multiple underground leaks in the water system. The County Council has estimated that 5,000 litres of water leak here every day. With the introduction of water charges we would not be able to pay for this wastage. We have one science lab for 400 students.  A recent Department of Education inspection of the science department, while complimentary of the teaching and learning, highlighted the lack of physical facilities,’ concluded Mr. Duignan. A public meeting on the issue, organised by the Parents’ Association, will take place in the lunchroom at the Community School on Monday next, March 3rd at 8 pm.