Alex Kiernan Byrne (4) helps turn the sod for his new school in Johnstown.
After almost 10 years in temporary accommodation, there was great joy as the sod was finally turned on the new primary school for St Stephen's NS in Johnstown, Navan, this week.
Four-year-old Alex Kiernan Byrne, who will start school in St Stephen's next September, helped school principal Jenny McHugh perform the sod-turning on Tuesday morning, while Fr Michael Cahill blessed the site.
Local councillors and members of the parents' council joined sixth class pupils and some of the children due to start school this year for the sod-turning ceremony.
Ms McHugh, who is also a member of Meath County Council, said she was delighted "to see the diggers and lorries in, the sod turned, children enrolled and the schools going ahead".
"When I drive up the avenue and see all the people in hi-vis jackets and hard hats and see the diggers, I'm delighted to see them all," she said.
While it was an exciting day for all involved, Ms McHugh said it was also an emotional day for her as it was something she had worked hard to achieve for many years.
Work is now underway on the €26m education campus, which includes a 1,000 capacity primary school for St Stephen's NS and a new secondary school, Coláiste na Mí, which is also due to open in September. The new secondary school will be run by County Meath VEC. Sammon Construction from Kilcock won the tender for the project.
Some 110 children are due to start school in St Stephen's in September. Pupil numbers are currently at over 700 and are due to reach 1,000 in three years' time.