TWO and half years after students actually moved into the building, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn is coming to Naas CBS to officially open the extension on Friday next at 9.30am.
The much delayed extension to the school, which has some 900 students on the roll book, was actually applied for in 1996.
At that time planning permission was sought for a four storey extension. It was approved some three years later but work was only completed in 2010.
At one point, before work started, there were 300 students seeking admission with only 150 places available.
And there were genuine fears that because of Government cuts the extension might not proceed at all even though more than E650,000 had been spent on design fees.
The new extension comprises 22 rooms embracing construction studies, science and general classrooms together with a new assembly/dining area.
Principal Noel Merrick consistently pressed for the work to be done.
When the project was ready to go to tender eight contractors were shortlisted and this happened after the project was delayed by the Department of Education.
There was a second tendering process.
In the end, because of the fall in the cost of building works as a result of the recession, the winning tender cost an estimated 20% less than the lowest tender originally submitted.
Commenting on delay at the time Mr. Merrick said: “It would be a shocking waste of money if the project is not now going to go ahead. After all the disappointments over 10 years, it would be outrageous for it to be delayed any further. The people of the Naas area certainly deserve this.”
At the time some of the students were being taught in 20 year old prefabs and the school was full to capacity.
Then in oppostition, Minister Quinn’s Labour Party colleague Emmet Stagg was a vocal critic of the delays in allowing work to go ahead.
- Paul O’Meara