Emotional day in Blennerville as sod is turned on new school
It was an emotional day in Blennerville on Monday morning, as the sod was finally turned on the village's new school after a mammoth 18-year campaign.
Current pupils and teachers joined former principals and passionate campaigners to celebrate the milestone occasion for the school, which will see the construction of a brand new €2m school within the next 15 months.
Monday's celebrations, however, were a long time coming for everyone involved given that the school's management - led by then principal Michael O'Connor - first applied for a new building to replace the current 79 year old school in 1996. The school was on the Department of Education's high priority list until 2007 when, despite a pre-election pledge made in the school by then education Minister Mary Hanafin, the school was removed from the roll of schools due for rebuilding. This resulted in a further four year delay in the redevelopment of the old school which suffers from over-crowding and insufficient facilities.
Despite the setbacks, the school finally got the go ahead and construction began two weeks ago on the new two-storey building that will comprise eight classrooms, three special needs classrooms, a principal and secretary's office and a staff room.
"These seems like little things to most people, but at present the 10 teachers use my office as a staff room, while my secretary has a desk in the corner, which show how bad things are," said principal Terry O'Sullivan. "Monday was a massive day for the school and it was great to see the former principals, who campaigned so hard in their time, here to celebrate with us."