Schools PPP lessons

TRUCKS carrying 70 portacabins left Cork this week for site use in constructing eight new schools, under a €100m PPP investment of 25 years with contractors BAM PPP.

The schools, in areas such as Tramore, Limerick and Donegal, will be completed by 2014, catering for 5,700 primary and second students, and are the first public sector projects funded under the PPP model since Jun 2010. It will bring to 23 the number of schools built under the PPP model to date.

A further 275 school projects will be completed over a five-year period under the Schools Capital Programme, worth €1.5bn, says Education Minister Rory Quinn.

This week’s start-ups on seven sites (necessitating a convoy of trucks to ferry 70 temporary construction site buildings) will provide 1,000 jobs and are 50% funded by the European Investment Bank.

BAM Cork MD Theo Cullinane and Paul Roche, director, welcomed the green-light, after planning issues were resolved in May. The agreement is for a 25-year concession, to include building maintenance and upgrades, when the eight schools must be handed back to the State, in pristine condition, good for several more decades. Six of the eight are second-level schools.

BAM was confirmed as winner of three competing bids in Sept 2011, and project financing includes EIB, Bank of Ireland and the National Pensions Reserve Fund, who became involved in PP bundling allocations in Jul 2010. Mr Cullinane says “the successful financing of this project augurs well for future PPP projects.”

Projects include Tramore, Waterford, a 1000-student school on a greenfield site, amalgamating two existing schools, a similar scheme in Athlone Community College, Westmeath, an amalgamation of three schools at Ballinamore, in Leitrim, for 400 pupils, a greenfield-site amalgamation of three schools at Doon, Limerick, for 850 pupils, greenfield- site buildings for a Galway post-primary and primary school at Doughiska, a 1,000-student school at Creagh College, Gorey, to replace temporary accommodation, and a 350-pupil school at Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, Donegal.

Designers for the Doon, Gorey and Tramore schools were CJ Falconer Associates, Waterford; Athlone and Donegal were designed by McGarry NíÉanaigh, in Dublin; and McCullagh Mulville did the Galway and Leitrim schools, said Mr Roche, who also said the buildings now going on-site countered recent criticisms of inappropriate, repetitive school building designs, with bright circulation areas as a feature.

Details: www.bamcontractors.ie

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