The playing fields located at Clonmel High School are being transformed as the sod has been turned on a new astroturf all-weather pitch.
The need for such a facility at the 715 pupil school has been present for decades and it is now becoming a reality with the diggers on site.
Covid did cause some delays in the project but there is a great sense of relief that the work has now started on the €500,000 project.
Significant progress has also been made in advancing a much needed €5.5m extension at the school which is designed to tackle overcrowding issues, provide new facilities and cater for a projected student population of 750 in three years’ time.
The extension has been approved by the Department of Education building department and the preferable design plans are now being considered by officials. Principal Karen Steenson, staff and Board of Management are hoping that to go-ahead will be given soon to move to the planning and tender stage.
The proposed extension will have a “life changing” impact for the school community according to principal Steenson who is hoping that it will be completed in the next three years.
The extension will consist of two new special needs rooms, two new science labs, an extension to the ASD facility, a multimedia room, a textile room, a Home Economics room, a prep room and a DCG room.
At the moment the ASD facility is not big enough to cater for the 24 pupils it has and the new extension to the ASD facility will mean it will double in size.
“Remarkable work is being carried out at the ASD facility we have but it is just too small and the need to increase the size of it is the most pressing issue,” said the school principal.
The new extension will mark the fifth generation of building on the school site.
OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
Principal Steenson praised the work being carried out by the Board of Management at the school which she said had raised the funding for the astroturf facility and had also raised €250,000 to refurbish the three existing science labs so that they will be of the same standard as the two new science labs to come on board in the extension.
She believes the astroturf facility will transform sport in the school, will provide more opportunities to all students and it was something that the school needed for a long time.
It is expected that the astroturf will be in use by January. “It will give all of the students opportunities to explore sport in a safe and attractive environment. It is important for the well being and the physical and mental health of the students to have such a facility,” said the principal.
The improvement in sporting infrastructure would also benefit students in their academic performance in a school where five students got over 600 points, 19% of students got over 500 points and 30% of students got over 400 points in the Leaving Certificate.
The provision of the astroturf facility will coincide with a new ERST ( Edmund Rice School Trust) School of Sanctuary initiative undertaken at the High School this year.
The objective of the initiative is to commit the school to being a safe and welcoming place, extending a welcome to everyone as equal valued members of the school community and is a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.
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