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Friday 23 February 2018

Clean slate for country's oldest school

Edel O'Connell

IT has stood for more than a century but now the oldest schoolhouse in the country will hold its very last class on Friday.

The children of Powerscourt National School in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, will then wipe the blackboards clean before moving to their state-of-the-art new facility on the outskirts of the town.

The original schoolhouse, which currently accommodates 64 pupils, was built in 1818.

It is the oldest continuously used national school building in the State.

The New Powerscourt NS is the first 'passive haus' environmentally friendly school in the country.

Design

The "passive" design of the school means windows open by themselves when the classrooms reach a certain temperature, lights turn off automatically when there is no activity in the room and the water used to flush the toilets is harvested rainwater.

Inside the school there are panels mounted on the wall which show how much energy is being used in each of the classrooms.

Storage is hidden behind sliding walls in each classroom, which can themselves be used as pinboards and whiteboards.

All classrooms, as well as the hall and multi-purpose room, are fitted with interactive whiteboards and computer stations and have access to an outdoor seating area so that in good weather some lessons can take place outside.

The children will begin the move at 9.30am on Friday by carrying items of significance, such as the school bell and the roll-book from the old school to the new school.

"The two school buildings couldn't be more different," said school principal Anna Ovington.

"We will be moving from a very old building on a site, which was not very accessible, to an ultra-modern school which has as little impact on the environment as possible. It is so exciting and the new school will provide a wonderful, stimulating environment for the children to learn in."

Irish Independent

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