Presentation Secondary School Ballingarry Turns the Sod on New School Building

Last Friday at Presentation Secondary School, Ballingarry, the scene was one of great joy as the sod was turned on phase one of the E4.8 million new school building and refurbishment plan for the school.

Principal Ms Angela Cahill was delighted to welcome representatives from Architects Bluett & O’Donoghue, Quantity Surveyors McCullagh, Lupton, Quinn and Kilcawley Construction along with past and present members of the Board of Management and Parents Council of the school, former Principal Mr Tom Fennessey, teachers, students, CEO of CEIST Anne Kelleher and school Chaplain Fr Derry Quirke who performed a celebratory liturgy for the “turning of the sod” ceremony.

Pictured above Front (L-R) Pat O Halloran ( Head Boy), Sr Patricia Wall (Former Principal), Lorna Walsh (Head Girl), Shane McCullagh (Quantity Surveyor), Tom Simpson (Former Chair BoM), Sr. Fidelis Purcell (Chairperson BoM), Tom Fennessey (Former Principal), Anne Kelleher (CEO CEIST), Abigeal Maher (2nd Year), Martina Creedon (Former Deputy Principal), Sr.Anne Nevin (Former Principal), Angela Cahill (Principal).

Back(L-R) Aidan Murphy(Clerk of Works), Fergal Meagher (Manager), Sean McManus (Foreman), Brendan Henry (Managing Director Kilcawley Construction), Peter Bluett(Architect), Fr.Derry Quirke PP (Chaplain), Mary Hennessy-Ryan (Former Deputy Principal), Ger Dowling (Deputy Principal)

For former Chairman of the Board of Management, Mr Tom Simpson it was a particularly proud day as he said that he and Mr Fennessey, along with many members of the Board of Management, spent many years trying to secure planning and funding for the project.

Mr Fennessey, along with current Head Girl Lorna Walsh and Head Boy Pat O’Halloran, had the honour of turning the sod on the project to the sound of much applause from the many students and well wishers present.

Mr Peter Bluett gave a brief overview of the new building and work schedule. Work began in July and it is hoped that phase one, which is the new building, will be finished in July 2014. The new building will contain a science lab, specialist rooms for art, music, language and technology along with a DCG room, offices, a sick room and an oratory.

The new school will also contain a state of the art gym and fitness suite which will be open to the public as well as students. Ms Cahill hopes that the new school and gym will enhance “education in the area, social events, clubs and new ventures in a village that is developing with a new make-over and a revived spirit”.

Phase two, which will begin on the completion of phase one next July, will see the refurbishment of current school building, which was built in 1983.

The school is known locally as “the convent” which reflects the history of the school. It was founded in 1871 by the Presentation Sisters and chairperson of the current Board of Management, Sr Fidelis Purcell, who bought some acorns with her to the ceremony as the oak tree is the symbol of the Presentation Sisters and the mantle of from acorns great oak trees grow was mentioned more than once on the day as the school has a reputation for excellence in education which really came to the fore with the tremendous Leaving Certificate results in the school this year.

Ms Cahill thanked everybody involved in the process of getting the new school building plans and funding approved.

She also thanked her deputy Mr Dowling for his constant support along with the entire teaching staff, especially Ms Regan and Sr Teresa Walsh for their planning of the ceremony.

She also paid tribute to the 300 students at the school who will benefit hugely from this project.