Frustrated parents now fear fresh delays in 9-year battle for planned school extension
Frustrated parents in Lucan have begun lobbying the Department of Education to accelerate a much-needed extension at Lucan Community College.
The Parents Association in the school fear that there will be fresh delays in delivering the extension, as progress seems to have stalled again.
An extension to the school was first announced in 2006 by then Minister for Education Mary Hanafin. It was later scheduled to be completed in 2014.
Initial design work has now been carried out at the school, but the department has not yet signed off on this to allow the project to progress.
A timeline, which will see the extension ready for pupils by September 2018, will only stay on track if planning permission is lodged by the end of this year.
The Parents Association is encouraging local parents and past pupils to write a letter to their local reps and to Minister Jan O'Sullivan to ensure that planning is lodged by next spring at the latest.
Numbers at the school have been increasing steadily and there are now some 885 pupils enrolled.
It is expected that this will rise to more than 900 next year, but demand for places is almost double that.
At the moment some class groups in the senior cycle of the college are unable to take PE classes due to a lack of gym space. Resource rooms and the school library have also had to be turned into classrooms to accommodate growing student numbers.
The extension will include a library, science labs, art rooms and a new technology room.
There will also be additional learning support facilities including two Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) classrooms and a state of the art gym.
A number of primary schools have opened in the area over the last number of years and Sandra Coleman, vice-chairperson of the PA warned that "Lucan will soon run out of places for these children to go".
"The school is popular because the teaching staff are really wonderful and it scores very highly," she noted.
Meanwhile, chairperson Mary Dwyer also highlighted concerns about health and safety in the building.
"From a parents point of view, though the students and teachers work hard to ensure that any dangers are minimised, you worry that the building isn't really built for the numbers it has," she said.
Local Independent councillor Liona O'Toole said that it is "hugely frustrating" for parents and asked Ms O'Sullivan to visit the school.
The Department of Education did not respond at the time of writing when contacted by the Herald.