The current Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan.

Finally: work on new school due to start next week

Work is to begin this month on the new €20 million Mercy Secondary School in Kilbeggan, 15 years after it was first mooted, and is expected to be completed in time for the 2023/24 academic year.

Contractors were invited to tender for the new 650-pupil post primary school in May 2020 and it was hoped that work would commence by the end of that year. However, it is now definitely going ahead and the builders are expected to move plant on site and start construction before the mid-term break.

Robert Troy, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, just back from his first trade visit to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, has welcomed the news.

In a statement to the Westmeath Examiner, he said that he had received confirmation from Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD, about the school. “I welcome this positive news that construction is going to start on this new school for Kilbeggan that will be there for the benefit of the pupils and the teaching staff,” he said.

“This is something that the board of management has been pursuing for many years. I know Senator Paul Daly, who is chairman of the board of management, has been pushing this for a long time, and it is great to see it finally coming to fruition.”

The need for a new school building has been necessitated by year on year growth in student numbers.

The new two-storey building, on a greenfield site about 500m from the current school campus on the old Dublin Road, will include a four-classroom special educational needs unit and ancillary accommodation, general teaching and administration rooms and a physical education hall with fitness suites.

The development will include two basketball courts, hard and grass play areas, soft landscaping, new vehicular and pedestrian entrance and exit points, external stores, car park, bus and car set down facilities, new boundaries and general site development works.

Outside the site boundaries there will be new footpaths and a cycle lane along the R446, new street light posts, connection to exiting services, traffic calming measures, a new pedestrian crossing and alteration to existing road markings.