CORK County Council has given the green light to an ambitious plan to build a new school in Buttevant.
The new 325-pupil school, which could open its doors as early as September of next year, will replace the existing Coláiste Mhuire parts of which date back to the mid 1800s.
Cork County Council this week gave the green light to an ambitious proposal for a 325-student campus to replace the existing school at Coláiste Mhuire, parts of which pre-date the famine.
The news is the latest welcome development in a protracted saga that has galvanised the local community to get behind the drive for the new facility.
Last September the Board of Management at Coláiste Mhuire received confirmation that Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had sanctioned funding for the new school at Station Road, Creggane.
This paved the way for the CCVEC to lodge a planning application with Cork County Council for the new school, which they submitted to the local authority late last year.
The application made provision for a two-storey building, incorporating classrooms, a special needs unit, administration rooms, a gymnasium and social areas.
The council gave conditional approval to the application subject to 27 conditions, including provisions to ensure the existing sewage system is not overloaded, to protect the built heritage of the area and to protect the existing amenities within the immediate vicinity of the new development.
Planners also ordered developers pay a special contributions totalling €49,600 to Cork County Council for "specific exceptional costs" not covered under the council's general contribution scheme.
Local councillor Tom Sheahan (FG) said the target date for the opening of the new school had been set for September 2014.
"This is great news for a community that has been working since 1986 to keep secondary education in Buttevant. We have seen good and bad days along the way. Needless to say this has been one of the good days," he said.
He described conditions within the existing school, which has more than 250 pupils, as "shocking". "Despite this, the school manages to return excellent results each year, testament to the diligence and hard work of management and staff at the school," he said.
"My hope now is that the government move swiftly to put in place the tendering process for the new school to allow work to commence as soon as possible," he added.