The principal of St. Kevin’s College, Lisnaskea has confirmed that progress is underway for the £6 million school expansion which is “needed sooner rather than later” due to the school being “well over capacity” with an enrolment of around 700 pupils.

“We are currently quite tight for space in the school,” explained Principal Gary Kelly. “We currently have around 700 pupils enrolled in the school and the school really has a capacity for 450/500 pupils so we are well over our capacity number in terms of teaching and learning spaces and general spaces around the school,” he added.

St. Kevin’s College was formed in 2017 following the amalgamation of St. Comhghall’s Secondary School, Lisnaskea and St. Eugene’s College, Rosslea. Mr. Kelly highlighted that since opening, the enrolment at St. Kevin’s has continued to increase making the expansion, which will involve the building of two new teaching blocks, all the more necessary.

Mr. Kelly commented that the expansion will provide “state of the art facilities for pupils and teachers” and will have bigger rooms, be better resourced and create more space.

“It’s going to mean that there will be more space for students to work independently and it also means that our corridors will be less crowded because our corridors are actually very, very crowded when the students move at the one time, particularly in the morning, at break and lunchtime,” shared Mr. Kelly.

Calling the expansion a “two phase project,” Mr. Kelly noted that the first phase is underway with the first teaching block now in for planning permission. The first block will include four classrooms, a study room, a resource area and offices.

He added: “Hopefully that will be approved soon and that’s going to start very shortly after planning permission.”

Describing the second teaching block as “specialist accommodation”, Mr. Kelly explained that the new two-storey building will include technology rooms, an ICT room, a drama room, a drama theatre and art suites.

Talking about the timescale of the expansion, Mr. Kelly commented that the first teaching block should hopefully have planning permission approved by the end of September/start of October.

“We imagine that’s going to start work very quickly and we have been told it should be finished around September time or October time coming, so within the year the first block should be operational,” he said.

Mr. Kelly noted that the second block is “probably” going to go into planning permission in November 2019 with building work “probably” starting in summer 2020 to be “probably” finished for September 2021.

When asked if he expects there will be any disruption to school life when building work begins, Mr. Kelly said: “The two blocks are going to be two separate blocks, they are going to be built separate from the main school building.”

He continued: “I can’t see there being any real disruption to teaching and learning because, as I say, it’s outside, it’s a new area of the school that they are being built.”

Mr. Kelly concluded: “The benefit for the school is we are going to be able to provide for more pupils so it’s really needed, sooner rather than later but we are delighted that we are at the stage we are.”