A rural primary school on the border of Counties Armagh and Down is set to get a £2.4 million new-build and redevelopment with a contractor now being sought to get the job done.
St Mary’s (Barr) Primary School, at Jerrettspass, are hoping for a favourable response to their plans from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The Trustees of the school – which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year – submitted a planning application towards the end of August last year which is still under consideration.
“Small numbers mean that we are able to cultivate a family ethos where everyone is caring and sympatethic to the needs of others,” the school website posted last year. “This in turn promotes a climate conducive to learning.
“We look forward to a new building which has been in the pipeline for some time and now comes closer to reality as we approach 2023.”
Now 2023 has arrived and there are major steps forward with the project out to tender.
The development would be on the site of the “existing St. Mary’s Primary School, and vacant lands to the east of 3 School Road, Lurganure”, at Jerrettspass, Newry.
The vacant lands at present are described as “agricultural”.
The new school would offer floorspace in excess of 10,000 sq ft, but there are no plans for additional staff, with the daily team at present given as 14.
The school has 125 pupils on the rollbooks.
The building work, if given the go-ahead, would be carried out in phases.
The new school would belefit from a single-storey building, complete with an outdoor canopy covered play area, as well as hard and soft play areas, landscaping, cycle stands and security fencing.
Works would also include the installation of a new underground storm sewer drainage system, solar panelling on the roof, relocation of an oil tank and provision of a bin store and service yard area.
In order to facilitate the substantial proposals, the principal’s office, an outdoor modular classroom and shelter and oil blocks would all have to be demolished.
And to facilitate the new school, a new internal road layout would be required.
This would include separtate pick-up and drop-off areas for cars and buses, as well as pedestrian crossing points.
There would be additional car parking spaces on site too, with a separate ‘temporary’ access for construction off the School Road, while the existing access from that road will be maintained and upgraded.
A decision on the proposals is expected shortly.
And, in the interim, the project has gone out to tender.
It has been published this week on behalf of the Department of Education.
A contractor is being sought to deliver the new-building.
The remit is thus: “Works are to include the construction of a new single storey primary school building, retention and refurbishment of the existing main school building and modular classrooms followed by the demolition of external classrooms and principal’s office building.
“Construction works will also include provision of hard and soft play areas, landscaping, new car parking, boundary fencing and access gates, re-location of an oil tank and associated works.
“The project will consist of a phased approach to the construction of the new school building and refurbishment of existing refurbishment of the existing main school building and modular classrooms, along with phased decant and demolition of the external classrooms and principal’s office building.
“The project will be delivered within a live fully operational environment.”
The value of the contract has been given in the region of £2,390,000 and the deadline for interested parties is Ferbruary 8.
The entire project would be expected to take a year to complete.