THE Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan has performed the official sod turning on the site of the new community school at Gortnacloughy, in Skibbereen. Construction is already underway at the 19 acre site, which will cater for 900 post-primary school students on completion in May 2016.
Representatives from Mercy Heights Secondary School, Rossa College and St Fachtna’s De la Salle, the current three post-primary schools in Skibbereen, were on hand to welcome the Minister to West Cork, and presented her with a fuchsia tree, the symbol of the region, to be planted on the site when the building work is finished.
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony, the Minister said: 'The multi-million euro investment in this region by the Department of Education and Skills and with BAM Construction, as the Private Sector Partner, ensures that West Cork is served with a state of the art learning facility, that will benefit the Region for generations to come.'
Officially named Skibbereen Community School at the ceremony, the new school will house 900 pupils providing modern classrooms, several science laboratories, technology and multimedia rooms, arts and graphics areas over the 9,800 m2 building. Extensive sports facilities, both indoor and external hard courts and playing pitches will also form part of the school development, as well as a fully specified Special Needs Unit.
'The new community school in Skibbereen will ensure that students in this area have every opportunity to excel in their chosen subjects,' said John Fitzgibbon, Education Officer, Cork ETB.
'We have been working on this new school since early 2000 and the land was purchased in 2009, and we are delighted to witness the turning of the sod by Minister O’Sullivan here today,' he added.
The site was blessed by Bishop of Cork & Ross John Buckley, who is also a Trustee of the school. Also in attendance were representatives of the other Trustees, CEIST and Cork ETB.