SKIBBEREEN’S new €1.6m gaelscoil stands in stark contrast to the brown prefabricated buildings that the pupils have been using for the last 18 years.
‘We don’t know ourselves,’ Aisling Ní Néill, the principal of Gaelscoil Dr Uí Shúilleabháin, said after the 72 students, five teachers, and three other staff members moved into the spacious and brightly-coloured building last Friday.
The transition turned into something of a ceremony as the children and their teachers, as well as friends and family members, formed a procession from the old prefabs to the new architecturally-designed and brightly-coloured school.
Gaelscoil Dr Uí Shúilleabháin stands on an elevated site at Gortnaclohy and – when the grass comes in around the building – there will be loads of space for the children’s recreational breaks and outdoor games.
Inside the building, there are four spacious classrooms, a sports and recreation hall, two resource rooms, offices, a kitchen and lots of toilet facilities for young and old, as well as those with special needs.
According to Aisling, the construction company, Tim Looney Construction, did an excellent job and the final finish is flawless.
‘We are all excited to be here. It was a long time coming, but it was certainly worth the wait,’ said Aisling.
‘We have great memories of the prefabs, as well as the first school in Townshend Street in 1994.
‘It was an emotional week clearing out the old school, thinking about all the work we had done to keep the school going, and thinking of all the children and families that had passed through the doors since the year 2000.’
The principal said: ‘We are looking forward to making more memories here in our super-efficient, bright, modern, colourful new school.’
Aisling thanked everyone involved in bringing the project to a successful conclusion including the school’s board of management.
‘A school is much more than bricks and mortar, it’s about the children, the people involved, and the local community.’
Ms Ní Néill also thanked Sarah Kelly, architect with KOBW design team, Tim Looney, and his foreman, Liam McCarthy, who was ‘absolutely super.’