New era as schools open
Long awaited opening of two LMETB schools
After a nerve breaking wait, educational history was made last week when students from Coláiste Chú Chulainn and Coláiste Lú moved into the new school building for the beginning of the new school year.
As the doors of the school opened to welcome the combined student population of 520 students, it marked a new era in education in Dundalk which began over five years ago when Colaiste Lú accepted its first intake of pupils in 2013, followed by Coláiste Chú Chulainn in 2014.
Plans for the new state of the art school on a large site beside The Marshes were dogged by delays, and at one state it was feared that the building wouldn't be ready for the start of the new academic year.
However, as Sean Ó hÉanaigh, Deputy Principal, Coláiste Chú Chulainn and Coláiste Lú, explained: 'there was a lot of work and late nights by everyone, ourselves in LMEBT and Gansen Construction to get it across the line.'
'It's very exciting to finally reach the building after a long road,' he said. 'The students and staff are really enjoying the benefits of the new facilities.'
At the moment, the two schools are occupying one building which includes a number of general classroomns, two art rooms, engineering, woodwork and technology rooms, five science labs and a lecture theatre.
The other building, which includes two home economics kitchen, general classrooms and a special education needs unit, is due to be handed over shortly after Halloween.
The students will also have access to excellent sports facilities including a gym, three basketball courts and three soccer pitches as well as a full sized Gaelic football field.
As the project was developed by Louth County Council, a public park will be created facing onto the roundabout leading into The Marshes.
The move came at the perfect time as the first cohort of students from Colaiste Lu will be sitting the Leaving Cert in June 2019 while Coláiste Chú Chulainn has its first group of students going into fifth year this September.
'The new school buildings give us the opportunity to expand the number of classes as the school grows and the programme and subjects will also grow,'said Sean.
'This year also sees us welcoming our first group of Leaving Cert Applied students.'
At the moment, the school has 40 teachers and eight special needs assistants as well as administrative and care taking staff.
Both schools operate under the auspices of Louth Meath Education and Training Board.