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€35m prefab replacement fund announced for schools

The Department of Education is offering grants for the construction of permanent school structures to replace rented prefabs.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

THE MINISTER FOR EDUCATION has today announced a €35 million fund for replacing rented prefabs currently being used by schools across the country.

The funding will offer grants to around 200 schools for building permanent accommodation to replace rented prefabs which currently accommodate an estimated 6,000 pupils.

The maximum grant being offered is €110,000 for a standard classroom, and this amount must cover all fees, local authority contributions and site works. Schools will be approached by the department in the coming days to consider applying for the scheme.

The move will save around €5 million a year on the rental of prefab structures for schools, according to the department.

Qualification

In order to qualify for a construction grant, the proposed site must be sufficiently large to accommodate the construction of the new building while use of the prefabs for classes continues. Schools also must have rented prefabs for for a minimum  period and must require the accommodation in the long-term.

The department also says that if this funding is granted to a school, then any previous application for an extension will be deemed to have been addressed and will be removed from the list of outstanding projects.

Schools who rent prefabs on a rental site will not qualify, nor will schools who want to have work done to the existing school building as an extension.

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According to figures provided by the Department of Education, the cost of renting a standard 80 square-metre prefab is about €15,000. This year, €29.3m has been allocated for prefab rental, while €28.9m was spent on it last year, and €29.3m in 2010.

Announcing the new scheme today, Ruairi Quinn blamed the previous government for a “legacy of rented prefabs” and said that the accommodation issue would be tackled by this government.

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