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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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20 to 30 new schools to be built across country as government issues contract worth €700 million

A number of new school buildings in Dublin are included among the initial plans.

File photo. School under construction.
File photo. School under construction.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Education has issued out to tender contracts worth an estimated €700 million for the design and building of schools across the country. 

It is envisaged that between 20 and 30 schools could be built under the first tranche of funding granted under the contracts through to 2021.

The department said that  – while subject to change – the first projects will include:

  • A new 16-classroom primary school in Pelletstown near Ashtown in Dublin
  • A new 1,000 pupil post-primary school near Malahide in Dublin
  • A new 16-classroom primary school in Donnybrook in Dublin
  • Another new 16-classroom primary school plus sports hall and all-weather pitch in Ballinteer in Dublin
  • A new 16-classroom gaelscoil in Knocklyon in Dublin
  • A new 24-classroom  primary school in Douglas in Cork
  • A new 24-classroom primary school in Cherrywood in Dublin

The multi-party contracts will focus initially on large-scale projects such as the ones listed above, with other multi-party contracts awarded for smaller-to-medium-sized projects.

call off projects Source: Dept of Education

Each project is estimated to be worth between €60 million and €120 million. 

Over the course of the first two years of the project, it’s estimated the schools project will cost between €350 million and €500 million. With the option for another year, the overall value of the projects would increase to €700 million. 

Each contractor will have to be in a position to deliver 4 new schools in varying locations around the country.

“It is envisaged that [the initial framework] may also deliver Design & Build schools projects complex in nature in conjunction with other buildings on a campus setting, such as extensions to existing facilities or new build elements,” the department said.

“Depending on programming and occupational constraints or requirements, some or all school projects may have a requirement for interim temporary accommodation.”

The schools will need to be delivered within a period of between 50 to 70 weeks, with each school needing to be designed, manufactured and completed in line with building regulations. 

The department adds that a successful contractor must demonstrate their capacity to deliver schools to the required standard before it awarded further contracts. 

The overall capital budget for education in Budget 2020 was €922 million, which was down almost €20 million on last year. 

Minister Joe McHugh insisted at the time that the decrease in funding wouldn’t affect school building plans next year. 

Alongside the plans for new school buildings, McHugh confirmed last month that around €40 million had been spent already this year on remediation works at schools constructed by Western Buildings Systems.

Tyrone-based company WBS, which was contracted to build a number of schools across the state by the government, is now subject to court proceedings after alleged defects were found in a number of institutions.

The building company, now facing legal action from the Department of Education, says it will vigorously contest any litigation.

A significant programme of work took place during the summer 2019 in relation to the 40 schools in which structural and fire safety deficiencies were identified.

McHugh confirmed structural remediation work has taken place on 14 schools “bringing them up to the highest possible standard and allowing for the removal of precautionary measures”.

The bulk of the remainder of the Schools Remediation Programme is scheduled to be undertaken on a phased basis over 2020 and 2021.

McHugh added that schools, teachers, students and parents should be assured that the Government is committed to bringing the schools to the highest possible standard.

“We are also committed to planned construction projects being delivered over the course of 2018, 2019 and 2020 which will provide 70,000 school places and the 29 building projects being progressed at third level,” he said.

“This will not affect school building for other projects, we have ringfenced funding up to €8.8 billion up to 2027, and specifically to next year, the 2020 programme, we’ll have 60 major buildings which were identified earlier in this term, to ensure we’ll have 30,000 new permanent additional accommodations, and the work programme we’ve had in place will continue to go ahead.

“This approach ensures that the cost of the remediation has had no impact on school and third level building projects,” he added.

The closing date for submissions for the new schools building tender is 24 January, with a contracts estimated to be awarded and work to begin in the second quarter of 2020.

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Sean Murray

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