Cllr Jenny McHugh.
Cllr Jenny McHugh.
Proposals for a new purpose-built 1,000-pupil national school at Johnstown, Navan, has been given the green light.
Planning permission has been granted for the new St Stephen's National School and the new building is expected to be ready for occupation this time next year.
Cllr Jenny McHugh, principal of St Stephen's NS, said she was thrilled at the news. "At last, we will be able to teach children in proper facilities and proper-sized classrooms," she said.
Cllr McHugh pointed out that classes are currently being held in hallways, a computer room and in six prefabs. The school has a current enrolment of 726 and will be taking in 127 four year-olds in September.
Cllr McHugh said the current school has no playgrounds of any sort and the planned new facility will have both hard and soft playing grounds.
The proposed new facility will have 32 classrooms and a special unit attached which may be used as a pre-chool facility for children with autism.
Work is expected to begin in October.
Cllr Tommy Reilly has warmly welcomed the granting of planning permission, having originaly proposed the zoning of the lands for an educational, recreational, sporting and sports campus for the Johnstown area in 2003.
"The planning permission means that the St Stephen's School project can now commence and, when completed, it will make life much easier for parents and students from the surrounding areas, in that they will now have proper educational facilities on their doorsteps," he said.
Cllr Reilly thanked his colleagues from the Navan Electoral area, in particular, Cllr Shane Cassells, and principal, Jenny McHugh, for their support in making the ambitious project a reality.
The Navan councillor expressed disappointment, however, that St Mary's Special School was not included in this phase of the development.
He is hopeful that St Mary's, in addition to a post-primary school, would get the nod from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn in 2013.
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