The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, has announced plans to amalgmate St Aloysius College and St Joseph's College, Summerhill, from the start of the 2017/2018 academic year.
The diocese, in a statement this evening, said the project would involve the coming together of the two secondary schools on September 1, 2017 – to form a new Catholic voluntary secondary school for boys and girls.
The school will be located at the existing Summerhill site, will have a new name, and new management structures.
It will cater initially for 500 students with the hope of expanding to 800 over a five year period.
The bishop said the decision came after research and consultation at local level
Planning will involve the upgrading of existing school buildings and development of new state-of-the-art facilities, on the existing Summerhill site to cater for the increased demand for school places which is evident from current primary school enrolments in the area.
Bishop Doran also reassured parents, students and staff that, for those students currently enrolled in St Aloysius and St Joseph’s College, subject choices will be maintained and in some respects improved during the interim period, as the two schools begin to co-operate more closely to enhance the educational opportunities of all the students.
The Bishop also announced that a project management committee will be appointed in the next few weeks to guarantee a seamless transition for students currently enrolled in both schools and the best of possible educational provision for future students.
This Committee will consist of the school principals, nominees from parents of students, staff, and the patron body.
The Bishop emphasised that support from the current school communities, (parents, management and staff, both at primary and secondary level) along with the support of the entire community in the west Athlone area, is essential for the success of the project.
“Local support for the planning and preparation of this new and exciting project is vital if we are to ensure that all the boys and girls of the area can benefit from the finest education standards available in the modern era”, Bishop Doran said.