Model School to be renovated

The Model School building in Athy is being renovated.

The Model School building in Athy is being renovated.

It was extensively damaged in an arson attack last March and the Department of Education has given the go-head this month for its renovation and refurbishment.

A meeting has now being organised with Kildare VEC, Kildare County Council and the Department of Education to discuss the future use of the building.

Cathaoirleach of Athy Town Council, Cllr Richard Daly welcomed the move. Speaking at a recent town council meeting, he said there were no definite plans yet, but suggested it would perhaps make an ideal location for either an expansion to the town library or the Athy Heritage Centre museum.

“Whatever goes in there it needs to be self-sustaining, viable, innovative and creative,” he added.

Cllr James Mahon, who sought an update on the matter, said the ongoing state of disrepair of the historical building was a matter of concern.

“A building of such historical importance being left idle is not acceptable,” he said. “Architecturally it is the finest building in Athy.”

Cllr Aoife Breslin noted Kildare VEC is proposing to visit the site within weeks and the building has “huge potential”.

Cllr John Lawler raised concerns about the interior of the building and if the Oak beams were still intact. “There has been no roof on it since March 12 months,” he noted.

“It is a gateway building for Athy,” said Cllr Mark Wall. “Here is an opportunity to put something into the building and for us to take ownership.”

Meanwhile, The Model School has taken up residence in Athy Community College since the fire. Investigations into the arson attack in March 2010 is still ongoing. No arrests have been made.