After three decades of lobbying, it was a historic first day at St Teresa’s Primary School as it opened its doors to a much needed new £3.9m building for the first time.
Parents, teachers, Trustees and Governors were all delighted the hard work had paid off and they were able to open an appropriate building to house all its pupils under one roof.
The building is on the same Tarry Lane site that has educated generations of local children since 1960.
And it certainly generated a wow factor on the first day of school.
Parents and children visited each of the seven classrooms that have the latest touch screen technology – gone are the pieces of chalk and dusters; in St Teresa’s you write on the board with your fingertip, in colour on a board that can play videos, connect to the internet and links through to the latest educational software.
Terri, P5, said: “I think the big screen the teacher has connected to the internet is amazing because you can use it like an iPad, but it’s just so much bigger!”
Outside of the classrooms can be found an ICT/Library, two resource areas for shared learning, three multi-purpose rooms and a medical inspection room. One of main attractions for the children is the large multi-purpose hall with climbing frames, a lighting and sound system to stage school productions and of course, a state of the art kitchen to provide school meals. The children are thrilled with the new tables and chairs in the canteen, as they can be folded up and they don’t need to stack the chairs!
Throughout the school, perhaps most noticeable is the change in the décor. Each classroom has its own colour scheme, with matching carpet, paint, chairs and tables for both children and teacher! Bria, P4, said, “Our new class is a fab shade of green!” Appealing to and integrating the history of the area and the school, each of the shared rooms has been given a local townland name, for example, the multipurpose hall will be known as the ‘Halftown’, remembering the original Halftown School at Tullydagan.
Mrs Doran, Principal, said the school had been specifically designed to take advantage of natural light and use that to light the classrooms and corridors. She explained that the building is eco-friendly, with solar panels and adaptive lighting. The school also has the facility to harvest and filter rainwater. In the foyer there is a panel indicating the amount of energy generated each day. Outside the building, there are two playgrounds, an amphitheatre and a football pitch, which should be ready for tournaments during the summer term.
There is now a layby within the school grounds, a turning circle, taking bus traffic off the busy Tarry Lane.
Mrs Doran said: “Staff have worked extremely hard to ensure the school was ready. Having waited many years for suitable accommodation to educate the children St Teresa’s can continue in the Little Way of St Therese, their patron saint: “Doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
Mrs Doran complimented the architect, Mr Martin O’Kane, for the design of the building and Mr David Losty, for managing the project, and expressed her gratitude to Mr William Smith, Glasgiven Contracts, and Mr Kevin Dougan, site foreman, for their dedication and cooperation throughout the building work and their hard work in ensuring the school was ready for September 1st.
Work will continue on the parking site across the road and when completed will provide ample parking for parents. Glasgiven will remain on-site until mid-October 2015, when all work should be completed.