Wednesday 19 December 2018

Multi-million euro extension at Davis College given green light

Construction work on project set to start within 8-10 weeks

An artist’s impression of how the Davis College extension will look when the project is completed
An artist’s impression of how the Davis College extension will look when the project is completed

Bill Browne

Almost three years after being given the all-clear by An Bord Pleanála, an ambitious expansion plan at Mallow's Davis College has finally been sanctioned by the Department of Education. 

In a letter to Ted Owens, CEO of the Cork Education and Training Board, department official Eamonn Cusack said they had reviewed the tender for the project and accepted the CETB recommendation that the "most economically advantageous" tender received from MMD Construction (Cork) Ltd be accepted. 

"On this basis Cork ETB, as client, is now authorised to proceed with the (tender) award process. The ETB should issue the letter of intent to MMD Construction (Cork) Ltd for the proposed contract sum of €8,362,566.94 exclusive of VAT," wrote Mr Cusack. 

It is understood that the kitting out of the new extension once construction work has been completed will bring the total cost of the project closer to €9 million.

The project, which will consist of a new stand-alone three-storey 5,000 square metre building, will transform the school into one of the most modern in the country capable of catering for more than 1,000 pupils.

The new building will be comprised of standard classrooms, science laboratories, social areas, administration rooms and a special education needs unit with associate ancillary accommodation. It will also incorporate specialist engineering, construction, art, home economics, music and DCG rooms. 

The external element of the project will include a full-size playing pitch, basketball courts, car-parking, landscaping and storage areas. 

The existing building, which is still in very good condition, will remain an integral part of the school with plans to give over one of the wings to the Gaelcholáiste.  The prefabricated buildings currently in place will also be removed, allowing for additional car-parking.

Disruption to the existing school will be minimal as Sexton's Boreen has been recently upgraded to accommodate construction traffic. Noel O'Connor, Chair of the Davis College Board of Management and Principal Stephen Gilbert met this week to discuss the latest development. 

"It has been a long road but the much anticipated extension has cleared the final hurdle and been sanctioned by the Department," said Mr Gilbert. 

Mr O'Connor also warmly welcomed the latest development.

"Everyone associated with the school is delighted, over the moon," he said. 

"After a long process, the various issues that have held this project up have been resolved. We hope that construction work, which will take in the region of 18-months to complete, will commence within the next eight to 10 weeks," he added. 

News that the project had been sanctioned was greeted enthusiastically by Cork East TD's David Stanton (FG) and Sean Sherlock (Lab). 

"This is most welcome and will ensure that the school is able to continue providing top-quality education to pupils from Mallow and the surrounding area for many years to come," said Deputy Sherlock. 

He said it was now important that proposals to rebuild sections of the Patrician Academy in Mallow damaged following a fire at the school almost two years ago are progressed through to the planning stage.