6 June 2014
Re: School Development
Sancta Maria College was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1920, almost a century ago. The school has seen many changes and developments in the intervening period. The changes have been significant at each stage. In recent times we have had many structural developments including roof repairs, disabled accessible facilities and insulation improvements. The student population has grown from strength to strength and in 2000 the Board of Management began the lengthy process of seeking a new extension for our school. Steady progress was made during that time which involved a team of consultants and a design team working with the Department of Education and Skills and the school’s Board of Management.
With the farewell of the Celtic Tiger the building progress slowed down significantly. This cannot be said of the population of the school which has grown to 350. After numerous meetings with the design team, the Department and the Board of Management the building extension was moved to Stage 2B in November 2013. This in effect meant that the Board of Management was now in a position to seek planning permission and tendering. We were all excited at the prospect of finally seeing the dream become a reality. Unfortunately the initial planning was objected to. The design team and Board of Management went back to the drawing board early this year and redesigned the entire extension to allay the fears and concerns expressed. This as you can imagine came at considerable time and cost. The appellant was consulted on numerous occasions during this time. The Department approved the new design and planning was again applied for. Mayo County Council granted planning permission. Unfortunately in May 2014 an appeal was lodged to An Bórd Pleanála. We await the outcome with bated breath.
The school has seen many developments over the past few years. We have a new wing which includes an Art room, 2 classrooms, a multi-media suite and a special educational needs area. This summer we were fortunate to secure funding for our pitch and a second multi-sport pitch which will all be fully operational by September. Building the extension at the other end of the site would in effect mean destroying our new pitch.
The design of the extension will be available on our website and we encourage you to view it. It will be a wonderful addition for our young people and provide valuable employment in an area in need of keeping our young adults local and employed.
One of the primary objectives of Sancta Maria College is to provide quality holistic education for the students who attend our school. Space and comfort is vital in promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of our young people.
We hope that the fourteen year process will end with a positive outcome for all of us.