Contracts have been signed for the long awaited multi-million euro new school building for Athlone Community College.
Work is expected to begin on the Retreat Road site almost immediately after BAM PPP signed a schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, for the design, build, finance and maintenance of eight schools nationwide, including a new 1,000 pupil school in Athlone.
The construction phase will be completed within 18 months and all eight schools will be available for occupancy in early 2014. The capital value of the eight new schools is €100 million.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn warmly welcomed the contracts signing for the new schools, thanking the European Investment Bank for their €50 million loan support.
"This is very good news for the communities in counties stretching from Donegal to Waterford who have been waiting for their school building projects to be given the green light," he said on Monday.
"I am particularly pleased that the European Investment Bank has again decided to support the Department's schools capital investment programme with a loan of €50 million which will assist in funding this investment. It is a further signal of the bank's renewed confidence in the Irish State and our recovery programme."
The projects will employ up to 1,100 people, which in addition to all the site operatives will include architects, engineers, contracts managers and quantity surveyors. A new school for Athlone Community College was first given government approval back in 2008.
For more local reaction to the news, check out this Wednesday's Westmeath Independent.