Navan education campus moves to design phase

There was great news for two Navan schools this week, as proposals for the new education campus at Academy Street moved to the detailed design phase.

Proposals for two new purpose built school buildings for Ard Rí Community National School and St Ultan's school on the one campus have moved to detail design stage with a planning application expected to be lodged later this year.

The multi million euro building project is being delivered by LMETB’s Land and Buildings Department, managed by Sinead Murphy.

Located at Academy Street the new campus will be an impressive campus making the most use out of a challenging site. The Design Team headed up by Jackie Carroll of McCarthy O’Hora Architects are one of the most experienced school designers in the country and will now work their way through the detailed design stage which is estimated to take approximately six months. There will be a further meeting with the Department at the end of this stage.

Ard Ri will be a 16 classrooms school plus a four class-base SEN base and St. Ultan’s will be a 20 classroom special school.

Darragh Roe, Principal, Ard Rí Community National School said it was a massive leap towards a permanent home for Ard Rí CNS.

"Balreask Old has served us well since we were established here in 2010 but we have 320 pupils now and space and provision of new classrooms is a constant challenge. The CEO of LMETB- Martin G O'Brien, Sinead Murphy (APO LMETB Land and Buildings), and Jackie Carroll (MCOH Architects) have designed a really ambitious project. Myself and Jean Cunningham, from St Ultan's, are involved every step of the way and we are confident we can deliver excellent school buildings which will meet the needs of our communities right into the future."

The chairperson of the Board of Management at Ard Rí CNS, Cllr Yemi Adenuga welcomed the development. "The Board of Ard Rí Community National School look forward to working with St Ultan's to create a really dynamic and state of the art education campus, not just for the town of Navan but for Meath. This is a great development for Academy Street and the wider community. "I am very excited for all the children and the families of Ard Rí Community National School but especially the staff who have worked so hard with the support of the Parent Association and the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board to make this happen."

The Principal of St Ultan's School, Jean Cunningham, said St Ultan's was delighted with the news.

"W have been waiting a long time. Our current accommodation has been unable to meet out needs as the school has grown and developed over the years.

"We are looking forward to having an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning and we also welcome the opportunity to work alongside Mr Daragh Roe and the Ard Ri School Community."

Senator Shane Cassells said the news was so exciting for the students of Ard Ri CNS and St Ultan’s.

“Lots of people will have noticed the new road that has been constructed off the old Dublin Road leading to a new housing development and this is also providing the access road and footpaths for the new schools.

“We have seen in Johnstown where the educational campus between three different schools works really well.

“So the coming together of Ard Ri CNS and St Ultan’s will also provide for that shared campus model.

“The fact that we will have the two schools so close to the town centre is really advantageous and the children will be provided with the highest quality facilities. I was delighted to bring Minister for Education Norma Foley to meet with Ard Ri CNS principal Darragh Roe last year.

“I showed her how this amazing school is currently operating out of portacabins and impressed upon her the need to get this new school built. So I’m thrilled things are moving.”

St Ultan's, which was founded in the 1960s provides young people with a mild disability the opportunity to enjoy a fully rounded primary and secondary education and is currently located on Flower Hill.

Ard Rí Community National School was Meath VEC's (now LMETB) first national school project and opened in temporary accommodation at Navan Rugby Club in September 2010, growing steadily over of the years. They have grown from having just seven children enrolled in Junior Infants in September 2010 to having 320 this year.