Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board marked the official opening on Friday 7th October of the multi-million euro new school campus at Coláiste Chiaráin Community College, Croom. The opening was undertaken by Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, accompanied by Minister of State, Niall Collins TD, and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD. The event was attended by the school’s students, staff and board of management; Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Francis Foley; Chair of the ETB, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon; ETB senior management; the project design team and the main contractor; as well as numerous elected representatives and representatives of the local community.
Speaking at the official opening, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, said: “I particularly want to acknowledge the students. What a fantastic welcome I received this morning from students all along the most impressive avenue as I was coming in; a very generous welcome. The students were very happy to chat and to showcase their school today, and that speaks volumes. I am always particularly impressed when a school has confidence to put their students to the front. It was a great pleasure to speak with the president and vice-presidents of the student council, Sasha, Petr and Grace. A school that has the confidence to allow the students to do the talking, the students to be the ambassadors, the students to lead the way, then that’s a school that knows it’s doing a good job.”
Construction of the €20 million new school campus commenced in October 2018 at a 22-acre greenfield site. The design team, led by Healy Partner Architects, worked closely with the main contractor, MMD, to ensure an excellent quality of finish on all elements of the contract, both internally and externally. The project was completed on programme and on budget despite the pandemic, with the school community moving on campus in March/April last year.
Also speaking at the official opening, George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, said: “This is a very significant day in the life of the school. Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board is justifiably proud of Coláiste Chiaráin for the excellence of the teaching and learning that takes place here. I would like to commend the teachers, staff, students, parents and the entire school community for their hard work and commitment over the years. This new building stands as a testimony to that educational tradition and will serve to enhance that education for the next generations of that community.”
The state-of-the-art community college campus comprises of an almost 10,000m² 2-storey building, with 50 classrooms, a dedicated Special Education Needs hub, PE and GP halls, a fitness suite, and dressing rooms, as well as 6 external ball courts, 3 playing pitches, and extensive parking and set-down areas. The new campus is facilitating delivery of the widest-possible curriculum to the school community, as well as enabling a diverse range of extra-curricular activities.
During his speech at the opening, Gerard O’Sullivan, Principal, said: “On this historic occasion in the life of all in Coláiste Chiaráin, a day of warm celebration for our school community, we are very grateful to share in this celebration and acknowledge the collective contributions of those here today. Sitting in this wonderful building, we are grateful to all who have been part of the delivery of our new school campus and we are equally grateful to welcome all present who continue to work with us to provide opportunities and support for our staff and students.”
Following the formal speeches, Minister Foley had an opportunity to meet with students and staff as she toured the extensive facilities of the new school campus including: a state-of-the art media studio, a STEM innovation space, the extensive new school library and the ASD Hub. The Minister also spoke with students in classrooms and commended the student council on their leadership and the important role they play in the life of the school.