The new building is planned to be located in front of the existing sports hall.

Virginia College extension to start Summer 2024

Construction of a new major extension to Virginia College has been held up by a request for further information from from the planning section of Cavan County Council.

It had been hoped that construction could begin as early as Summer 2024, after full approval was given by the Department of Education for the project.

The proposed new three-storey extension consists of a new four-class Special Educational Needs (SEN) facility and ancillary accommodation, 11 general classrooms, speciality classrooms and general offices.

Covering 4,538 sq m and linked to the existing post primary school, plans also cover the refurbishment and extension of existing GP Hall by 82 sq m, and the demolition of the existing 1960 school building (1793 sq m) to accommodate two ball-courts, 24 bicycle stands and other associated site works.

A Natura Impact Statement was completed and submitted as part of the application, however further information was sought in relation at the end of last month. Required are more details in relation to a temporary foul holding tank, how it will be managed and operated on-site; and whether the existing public foul sewer will be used in conjunction with the holding tank until such time as the Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plan is upgraded.

Furthermore, the ETB has been asked to submit a Construction Environmental Management Plan for approval; an asbestos containing materials survey; as well as a comprehensive and detailed plan for how site clearance, demolition and construction waste will be dealt with.

Other queries have been raised in relation to pedestrian and cyclist connectivity; a bus drop-off/collection zone; car parking arrangements; a request that the ETB liaise with Virginia Show Society to address concerns regarding the potential impact on access; and a Confirmation of Feasibility (COF) in relation to usage of infrastructure from Irish Water.

Director of Organisational Support and Development, Berni Power, told board members at their meeting at Monaghan's Garage Theatre that the design team appointed to the Virginia school project is currently “working on responses”.

Previously an application was made for new temporary accommodation under the SEN Framework for the school.

Breifne College

The meeting was also told that the ETB had sent a fresh set of proposals to the Department of Education in relation to Breifne College, having sought to alter previous plans in a bid to deal with rapidly increasing enrolment figures at the Cavan Town


Having already completed the first stage of the design process, plans involve the provision of a new extension to house four general classrooms, seven SET rooms, three science labs and two prep rooms, two new engineering rooms, two tech rooms and two more prep rooms, a graphics room, art room, textiles room, five project stores, two classroom SEN base, and other ancillary accommodation.

The new proposed plan will almost double the footprint of part of the school and, once complete, will enable Breifne College to cater for 1,200 students.

Colaiste Dun a Rí

Meanwhile, the design team is working on a specific “detail” Ms Power said, regarding plans to extend Dun an Ri College in Kingscourt.

Still hoping to break ground before the end of 2024, what is proposed is an extension consisting of 23 new general classrooms, two-classroom SEN base, five SET/pastoral rooms, a multimedia room, a DCG room, three Science labs, two Prep areas, a Home Economics room, Art room, Construction Studies room, Engineering room, Tech prep room, three project stores, a new staff room and GP/dining room.

Other projects

In neighbouring Monaghan, the ETB is working on the first stage of plans for an extension to Castleblayney College, where the Board recently struck a deal to purchase 2.2 acres on the Dundalk Road to the rear of the school from Monaghan County Council for a sum of €50,000.

CMETB, it's understood, will pay the local authority’s legal fees in relation to the sale.

An extension at Beech Hill College is awaiting departmental approval to move to next stage, while the design team has submitted a report on the plan to extend Inver College in Carrickmacross in October 2022, with department approval awaited, and this project was expected to break ground around the third quarter of next year.

Board members welcomed progress made by the ETB in delivering modular school accommodation at sites across the two counties - at St Bricin's in Belturbet, St Mogue's in Bawnboy and at Inver College, and the role played by the buildings department in helping Cavan's Royal School on its own new modular classroom project.

But it was the project at Inver that carried most of the discussion after the presentation had ended, with Sinn Féin's Colm Carthy cutting a frustrated figure when informed the extension build would only be completed by


In the interim a modular unit has been sought, yet he fumed: “There are floor signs and buckets in the middle of the floor.”

The modular building was needed before the new school year began, and he stated all he had seen to date was the extension date “pushed out” further and further.

“We need to do what needs to be done to get this moving,” said Cllr Carthy asking Ms Power if elected members present could do more to raise the delays with their Oireachtas colleagues and, in turn, put pressure on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, and her officials to act faster. “The modular unit should be here now and we need to be pushing for the extension.”

His remarks were supported by the newly appointed chair of the ETB, Fianna Fail's PJ O'Hanlon and fellow board member and teacher at Inver Joe McGrath.

Encouraging councillors to do what they could to assist, Ms Power assured members that the executive was “doing everything it can” regarding progressing building projects at Inver and elsewhere.