St Matthew's NS renovations on track

Principal of St. Matthews NS, Ballymahon, has confirmed that heating repairs and interior renovation works at the school are on track for completion by February 28 2011.

Principal of St. Matthews NS, Ballymahon, has confirmed that heating repairs and interior renovation works at the school are on track for completion by February 28 2011.

Herbert Farrell was speaking to the Longford Leader following the failure of the school's heating system earlier this month and the displacement of approximately 120 pupils at the school.

"It may look slow from the outside but the engineer, who is working with the Emergency Works Section, has assured me that it will take four weeks from last week to do the job," said Mr Farrell.

Despite this positive momentum, it is now unlikely that St Matthew's NS will serve as a polling station in the forthcoming General Election.

"I'm not certain where the polling station will be this year, but it is unlikely that our works will be completed in time to accommodate the upcoming election," said Mr Farrell. "It could be held at the GAA Pitch or the Convent. I don't know."

It is Mr Farrell's belief however, that the school will be ready for business as usual by Monday February 28 next.

"The Department is looking at a number of ways of addressing the heating system and getting it going again. They will choose the most effective method that ensures the children are back in their classrooms as soon as possible," he said.

Commenting on the support that he and his colleagues have received from the wider community, Mr Farrell stated "I couldn't thank the Ballymahon Branch of Scouting Ireland enough, or Rory and the committee at the Dean Egan Library. The message has been the same from everyone - 'whatever the children need, they can have it'."

Another group to assist with the renovation and repairs initiative is the Parents Association who have co-ordinated some of their efforts through their Facebook page 'St Matthew's NS Parents Association'.

"The parents came on board and cleaned down some of the rooms (in the Scouts Den and the Dean Egan Library) before the children began to use them," said Mr Farrell. "They have also been a huge help cleaning up the yard."

Understandably, it is the teachers and the students who have felt the impact of the move most keenly.

"The teachers have really got around this whole upheaval," said Mr Farrell. "Out of all of this, there has been a very positive experience from the point of view of the teachers, the students and the parents. At least our students are warm and learning, that is the most important thing."