Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (434, 435, 436, 437)

Gerald Nash

Question:

434. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Education the sites controlled by the Louth Meath Education Training Board, the Drogheda, County Louth and east County Meath areas, respectively, that were assessed for suitability by her Department and the ETB before a decision was made to relocate a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6865/21]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

435. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Education if copies will be provided of any formal assessments carried out by her Department on the site of a school (details supplied) which were used by her Department to reach its determination that the current site of the school is unsuitable to meet the needs of the school in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6866/21]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

436. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Education when a planning application for the proposed development of an interim school building solution for a school (details supplied) will be submitted to Louth County Council; the full capital cost and budget estimate for the proposed project; if the proposed move to a site will involve the addition of more places in first year for the 2021-2022 school year in order to meet full demand; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6867/21]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

437. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Education the reason a site in the ownership of the LMETB adjoining a school (details supplied) will not be used to develop a further interim property solution for another school; if it will be ensured that a permanent building for the school will be located in the east County Meath area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6868/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 434 to 437, inclusive, together.

The interim move of Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School (ETSS) from its existing temporary location to the Louth Meath Education Training Board (LMETB) owned site at Rathmullen Road, Drogheda (same location as St. Oliver's Community College), is to facilitate Drogheda ETSS ultimately growing to a 1,000-pupil school upon the delivery of its new school building on a permanent site. This is important in the context of addressing the need for additional post-primary school places in Drogheda and Laytown School planning areas for the next 3 years including September 2021.

The level of accommodation to be provided will be in excess of 6,800m² and will consist of 13 general classrooms, 14 specialist rooms, 2 special classes, pastoral rooms and other ancillary accommodation. Providing enhanced facilities for Drogheda ETSS and the capacity to cater for increased enrolments over the next 3 years, including for September 2021, are particularly important aspects of the project.

The existing temporary Drogheda ETSS site on the Mill Road is too small to facilitate the proposed accommodation and St. Oliver's Community College site is the only LMETB owned site in the vicinity that has capacity for this level of accommodation. The school will remain on the ETB-owned site until its new permanent school building is provided. LMETB has agreed to deliver the project and a planning application will be submitted as quickly as possible. The cost will only be known when tenders are received and assessed.

In relation to a permanent site for Drogheda ETSS, the Department has undertaken and continues to undertake a site identification process in respect of suitable sites in the South Drogheda area. To date it has proven challenging to identify suitable available sites in the area. Currently, the Department is undertaking an assessment of two potential sites. Due to commercial sensitivities it is not possible to provide further information at this stage.

The Department envisages that the new permanent school will be provided under a Design & Build contract and has procurement frameworks in place to deliver this as quickly as possible. A typical construction period for a 1,000 pupil school is 18 months. However, the identification and acquisition of a permanent site and the associated design and planning permission processes are key first steps in facilitating construction of the new permanent school building.