North Kildare School Reaches the Promised Land

Excellent Photo opportunity: June 12th 9 o’clock, Clane Rd. North Kildare – 250 children walk to their new school.

The pupils, staff and parents at the North Kildare Educate Together School in Celbridge saw a ten-year-old dream realised this week as they moved into a brand new €3.5 million building at Clane Road funded by the Department of Science & Education with a contribution of over 65,000 euro from the school community.

The building designed by Grafton Architects around a central courtyard reflects the desire and input from the school community for high quality design with the emphasis on space, light and welcoming surroundings. A purpose built unit for children with Autism, will be an integral part of the new school and will provide education for twelve pupils when fully resourced.

The school, which opened its doors in 1994, has been housed in portacabins for the best part of a decade on a site at Ballymakealy Lower. During that time, it has grown to accommodate two hundred and fifty children and eighteen staff, in spite of the limitations of its facilities.

School principal, Rita Galvin, spoke of her satisfaction that the long struggle to get a proper building had finally ended. This new building stands as a testament both to the vision of the people who founded the school all those years ago and to the dedication and hard work that has been put in by many, many people since then. She paid tribute to those who had given their time and skills to work on school committees, some of whom had seen their children pass through their entire primary education without such basics as a P.E. hall.

North Kildare Educate Together School is multi-denominational, co-educational, child centered, and democratically run through the elected Executive (Patron Body) and Board of Management.

In an address to the parents of next September’s Junior Infant class, the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Gerry Folan, described the move to the new building as arriving in the promised land. He outlined how the current sixth class were looking forward to having their graduation ceremony in the new building, having spent the best part of eight years in what they ironically referred to as the cardboard box.

The exterior of the new building is topped by a distinctive copper roof, which will gradually turn green over the next few years. The staff and parents’ car parks and the bus turning circle are a far cry from the muddy track which led up to the old building, and the school community will have to get used to such novelties as school reception area, corridors, a PE hall and a constant supply of running water and fully-functioning sewage system! It’ll certainly be a change, but I think we’re more than ready for it, quipped Ms Galvin.

Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together, speaking on behalf of the 27 other Educate Together schools in the country, congratulated the North Kildare Educate Together community on this achievement. At a time when there is so much bad publicity about the school building programme, it is enormously encouraging to see children walking from a group of prefabs into a state-of-the-art new building. It is wonderful that this is a state-owned facility developed in co-operation with the local authority. We applaud the Department of Education in its commitment to provide buildings of such quality for the young adults for the future.