Plans for the brand new - and long overdue - Ardee Educate Together school
Plans for the brand new €5 million Ardee Educate Together school have been passed by councillors at the latest Ardee Municipal District meeting held in the town last week.
The new school build has been deemed in accordance with the Ardee Local Area Plan 2010-2016 by Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin, which left councillors in Ardee with the task of passing the plans ahead of further progress.
Councillors heard that only one submission was lodged in relation to the application – by the Dept of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – citing the proximity of national monuments and recommending an Archaeological Impact Assessment.
The council have already conducted a preliminary study, in which no obstacles to progress was found.
It was also revealed that there are future plans to link the new school, which will be located on Jervis Street in Ardee, to the Ashwalk area of the centre of town. However, these plans are not part of the current proposal.
When pressed on the impact on traffic in the vicinity, council engineer Frank McGee said the impending new bypass will alleviate many concerns for motorists and pedestrians.
“We have the new N52 bypass. That will take traffic off Jervis Street, the volume of traffic on Jervis Street will ultimately go down,” McGee told the meeting.
“The contract documents will be in place in July,” he said, adding that some of the construction of the new school and the bypass will overlap. “Construction will probably overlap [but] for the majority of the build of the school, the bypass will be in place.”
It is expected that work on the N52 bypass could begin in earnest in July. The 1,923sqm new Educate Together school build will include eight classrooms, a double class special needs unit, a sensory garden and play area, a multi-sensory room and a para-educational room. It will also include 19 car parking spaces and a bike rack with room for a total of 44 bicycles. A bus set down area is also enclosed.
At present, all buses and cars must pull up at the site of the current school on the busy N53 old Dundalk road, posing a hazard to pupils, parents and road users. Only around half of teachers and staff can park on site.
The 144 pupils in the multi-denominational, all-faith school are currently operating out of just one in-building classroom and a number of prefab units, some of which have been in use since the school first opened 16 years ago.
The current school building was first built in the 1800s.
Speaking at last Thursday’s meeting, Sinn Féin councillor Pearse McGeough said, “It’s a wee bit surprising there has only been one submission.” The passing of the plans was proposed by Jim Tenanty and seconded by Dolores Minogue.