The first stage of renovations and repair works at St. Matthew’s NS, Ballymahon, has been completed and first and second year pupils have returned to the building following a stay of over one month at the Dean Egan Library, Ballymahon. Welcoming the completion of Stage One, which saw two classrooms in the school renovated and equipped with a temporary state of the art heating system, principal Herbert Farrell told the Leader: “We received an incredibly positive response. The parents wanted the children back in school and so we met regularly...The parents came in themselves and they painted and did up the rooms. They had great fun here over two days.”
The works followed the failure of the heating system in the school during the extreme cold spell in January. Ten rooms at the school were damanged and approximately 120 pupils displaced.
“The renovations is a two pronged attack. There is this temporary system (Stage One) which is in place to get the children (first and second) back on this side of the road as quickly as possible...The Department is also testing this new temporary state of the art electrical heating system for cost efficiency,” said Mr Farrell.
Stage Two of the renovations will require the redecoration of eight more rooms, including the school’s gym. It will also mean the implementation of a new heating system throughout the building.
“The main heating system has to be put out to tender...They said six weeks. It will be a very quick installation, usually only two weeks so that leaves four weeks for the tender itself,” said Mr Farrell.
“We will however go ahead with decorating the rooms. We’re sourcing everything as locally as we can.”
The temporary electrical heating system, which was installed on a test basis by the Department of Education, is currently being used by the Office of Public Works in their offices.
“So far it’s working brilliantly,” said Mr Farrell, who is also quick to commend the prompt action of parents in the school’s renovation process. Looking back on their time in the Dean Egan Library, Mr Farrell is grateful to the management at the library for the use of their facilities.
“We still have just over 60 pupils at the Scouts’ Den,” he said. “We are very lucky to have that facility still.”
Mr Farrell could not cite the anticipated total cost of the renovations stating that insurance figures had yet to be confirmed.