Minister For Education Commits To 100 New Schools

The Minister for Education has announced that more than 100 new schools are to be built over the next five years to cope in order to cope with a “massive rise” in the number of children who will need school places.

Ruairí Quinn was addressing the annual conference of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) in Dublin on Monday, saying this challenge for his department was also a “real opportunity to seek innovation in the design of these new schools”.

He noted that the post-primary school design competition held earlier this year was the first competition for school design since the landmark community schools design competition in 1973, which had demonstrated a “clear step-change” in architectural quality.

Mr Quinn said he was delighted the latest competition generated “incredible levels of interest”, attracting “the highest ever number of entries for a design competition in Ireland” with 154 submissions, including 43 international entries from 14 countries.

He stressed that the competition – which was won by ARPL Architects from Ayr in Scotland – was “not just an ideas competition but focused on delivering real innovative school designs that could be built”, starting with a 1,000-pupil secondary school in Kingswood, Tallaght.

“In the current economic climate, coupled with the challenge of additional school places, it would be deceptive to raise expectations in seeking just a once-off flagship project” and his department was “in the process of appointing the winning design team,” he said.

Building on the success of the competition, Mr Quinn – an architect himself – said a joint RIAI-Department of Education day-long colloquium on post- primary school design would be held on December 13th in his department.


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