independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Principal hits out at sports hall hold up

WAIT FOR GOVERNMENT FUNDING

A BALBRIGGAN school principal has called on the Department of Education to stop dragging its heels on making a decision to proceed with a vital indoor sports facility for both the school and wider community in the town.

Balbriggan Community College is waiting on the Department of Education to stump up an extra €300,000 project that will deliver a sports hall to be used by the school during the daytime and the wider community in Balbriggan in the evening. The project is part of the Fingal Schools Model that delivers community facilities in return for the local authority sourcing sites for new schools for the Department of Education. The project ran into budget overruns last year and approximately €600,000 in additional funds had to be sourced. Fingal County Council quickly came on board, after negotiations with the VEC who run the school, and contributed half of the needed funds. The Department of Education has been asked to stump up the rest of the cash but has been dragging its heels on the issue and now says it must complete a ' technical examination of the site' before it makes a final decision on the investment. School principal, Pat Halpin: 'We are still waiting for a decision to be made and we've been told by the Department that decision won't be made until the technical examination of the site is complete. 'I suppose they have to tick all their boxes and they haven't said no but still it is frustrating that it has dragged on so long.' The school principal said that school authorities were given to understand the current sports facility on the school grounds would have been demolished last August and that the new facility would be constructed and ready for use by this Easter. But now the school believed it will be September at least before the facility is ready for use and in the meantime, the old sports hall has effectively been decommissioned in readiness for its demolition. That means that students returning this week will continue to do PE classes in an assembly hall which Mr Halpin describes as 'not fit for purpose'. 'We absolutely need this facility delivered by September because we can't go on another year with the present situation,' Mr Halpin told the Fingal Independent.

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