*Ennis Community College. Photograph: Cian Ó Muíneacháin
ENNIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE’s new look school building has been labelled “industrial” and “shocking”.
Work on the €10.2m extension of Ennis Community College continues at its Harmony Row campus. The school which has been in existence since 1938 is set to double in size as a result as the building expands by 4,200 square metres.
Feedback on the aesthetics on the building’s exterior look have not been positive, Tuesday’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District has heard. Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) remarked that the design and look of the building is “a bit industrial” and that “people have been shocked while Cllr Mary Howard (FG) agreed, “it’s very bland looking”.
An assessment at the Maid of Erin roundabout “to accommodate pedestrian crossings” for the “high volume of students” to Ennis Community College was requested by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF). She said that the matter had been raised by school principal Brian O’Donghue when giving elected members a recent tour of the building.
As part of the recent extension, a pedestrian crossing was constructed on St Anthony’s Terrace/Harmony Row, executive engineer Barry Conway flagged. “The existing pedestrian crossing at the Mill Bridge allows pedestrians from the Cloughleigh and Circular Road area safe access to the new crossing on St Anthony’s Terrace. The MD office will liaise with the road design section to determine whether further pedestrian facilities are required on Cusack Road or Sandfield Park”.
Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) is Chairperson of the School’s Board of Management with Cllr Howard and Cllr Colleran Molloy also holding roles on the Board. She felt the school “looked amazing” and was confident numbers would continue to increase within Ennis Community College and Gaelcholáiste an Chláir.
Installation of a pedestrian crossing on the Cusack Rd side “is long overdue,” Cllr Howard maintained. With the resumption of swimming lessons, “it is very dangerous for smallies coming across the road, it is a very busy junction and we need to look at a pedestrian crossing on all sides of that roundabout, we need to slow the traffic down”. Cllr Pat Daly (FF) agreed that a crossing was “badly needed” with “bottleneck” traffic a regular occurrence.
An explanation regarding the look of the building was sought by Cllr Flynn. “The design and look of the building, it looks a bit industrial, I understand the inside is beautiful but could the architect explain why it looks the way it looks and the way it functions”. Cllr Norton stressed that the building wasn’t finished and that the inside was “superb”. She added, “We do realise there has been a lot of negative comments about it but there will be a lot of greenery around the building on the outside, it will blend in more within the area and community, it takes time”. Cllr Flynn replied, “people have been shocked”.
Completing classrooms was the initial priority, Cllr Howard outlined as she acknowledged “it’s very bland looking”. Cllr Colleran Molloy predicted, “It will develop quickly into a mature look because of the greenery. The old building will be retrofitted in such a way that it becomes one modernised school”.
Senior executive officer, Leonore O’Neill did not feel it was necessary to invite the architects before a meeting “to discuss a design approve by planning”. “Some level of explanation” can be sourced from the construction team, senior executive engineer, Eamon O’Dea later advised the meeting.
No date has been set for the formal opening of the building, Cllr Norton confirmed.