The new St. Mary's Secondary School, Ballina.

New Mayo secondary school to open after major investment

After almost two years of construction, the new school building for St. Mary's Secondary School in Ballina will officially open for students this Monday morning.

A Mass of Welcomes takes place for first year students and their parents, followed by a tour of the school and refreshments.

Designed to comply with 'nearly zero energy building (NZEB) standards, the 650-student school is an exemplar project that supplies its own power via photovoltaic panels.

The lead design team was Building Design Partnership Limited (BDP), with building works carried out by Kilcawley Construction, Sligo.

The design was based on the updated, reconfigurated and improved classroom layouts and schedule of accommodation to achieve enhanced flexibility and innovation in the use of space.

The design of these learning spaces drives and facilitates improved teaching through improved proximity, communication and sight-lines between student and teacher.

They also allow for shallow classrooms with better daylight and ventilation, layouts for improved accessibility, and greater flexibility.

It is the first school building in Ireland to be constructed by the Department of Education which these enhanced specifications.

The new school was built on a green field site on Convent Hill in Ballina.

The site, measuring approximately 5.6 ha., was assembled from a large parcel of undeveloped land given by the Sisters of Mercy, to which several subsequent parcels were added.

This was complemented by the securing of site access from the Sli Ectra road through the purchase and swap of lands facilitated by the Sisters.

A secondary cyclist and pedestrian access was made possible from the south via land transfer by the Sisters of a disused lane and adjacent land, connecting the school with McDermott Street.

The adjacent playing pitch was transferred as part of the new school site to St. Mary's Secondary School.

The pitch will be used as a community pitch between both the primary (Scoil Iosa), post primary school and also the community into the future.