VIDEO: Work starts on Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan's €20m new home

There was widespread delight and more than a little relief recently when work began on Mercy Secondary School's new €20m home on the Dublin Road.

A new school was first mooted almost 15 years ago and since then its number of pupils has almost doubled to 650. Work on the project was also held up for two years when Westmeath County Council's decision to grant outline planning permission was unsuccessfully appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

Principal Garrett Farrell says that when the new facility opens in time for the start of 2023/24 academic year, it will be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Mercy Secondary School.

“We have been waiting for this day for a long, long time, to see work taking place on the site is a dream come true for everyone at Mercy Secondary School.

“It has taken a lot of energy and a lot of effort to bring it to this point. It is a huge boost to the school community, everyone who has waited so long for this,” he said.

The two storey facility, which is being built by Stewart Construction on a site about 500m from the current school campus, 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 also will include two basketball courts, hard and grass play areas, soft landscaping and new vehicular and pedestrian entrance and exit points.

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 alterations to existing road markings.

Mr Farrell said that he and the rest of the school community are “absolutely thrilled” that work has begun.

“In terms of facilities it will be state of the art and will be a huge step up from where we are now, but as I always say they are just buildings, we need to bring with us the good nature, the good humour, the great co-operation we have with everyone up the road as well. If we achieve that we will be very, very happy.” he said.