A new Irish medium school in Crumlin, which will cost up to £1.3m, is set to open in October.
Education Minister John O’Dowd gave the green light for the new build at Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach, Crumlin
The new four classroom-based system build accommodation, funded through the Department’s Accommodation Fund, will replace the school’s existing mobile accommodation.
It will be sited off the Glenavy Road in Crumlin.
Speaking as he cut the first sod for the new build, Mr O’Dowd said: “This new purpose-built accommodation will give teachers and pupils at Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach four new teaching spaces, along with ancillary space and multi-purpose rooms. Development plans also include a hard play area as well as informal grass play areas for sport and leisure activities so children can develop their skills outside the classroom too.
“This is a significant investment which will also give a welcome boost to the local construction industry and I look forward to seeing the new school when work completes in October 2015.”
Commenting on work beginning for the new school accommodation, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach principal Stephen Wallace said: “We are extremely excited about our new Gaelscoil and the future of Irish-medium education in Crumlin.
“The new Gaelscoil will provide a safe and fun environment where we can learn and grow together. We have been greatly supported by the Gleann Darach community to make this vision a reality.
“We would also like to thank the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, the previous Education Minister Caitríona Ruane, Pilib Ó Ruanaí from Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta and Debbie Phillips from the Department of Education for their support over the years.”
The construction contract was awarded to Western Building Systems.
Naíscoil Ghleann Darach was founded by parents in 2001 to provide Irish-medium pre-school education in the Crumlin area with Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach opening in 2006.
A new Irish language Family Centre which will also house the Naíscoil for children who wish to be educated through Irish opened recently.
Naíscoil (and Gaelscoil) Ghleann Darach is a cross community unit, open to children from any cultural or religious background. All staff are qualified to a high standard, including a Diploma in Irish, NVQ III in childcare, and have completed courses in Elklan Speech & language, Autism, and paediatric first aid.