Up to 100 jobs could be directly created in the Ballinamore area as construction of the new Post Primary School gets underway this week.
After 40 years of campaigning, broken promises and knock backs, the site for the new school at Lahard, Ballinamore was opened up to vehicles and building equipment on Monday, November 12 after the construction company submitted their commencement notice to Leitrim County Council and signed the schools PPP contract with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), for the design, build, finance and maintenance.
The opening of the site means the town is one step closer to a new inclusive school, amalgamating Fatima and Felim’s secondary schools with Ballinamore Vocational School. But the start of work on the site, located on the Swanlinbar Road also brings the hope of much needed jobs and revenue boost to a town and area that has been hard hit by recession and emigration.
A spokesperson for Bam Building Ltd told the Leitrim Observer, the company are currently recruiting for a number of positions across all trades including Health & Safety for the Ballinamore project. Although the company would not specify the exact number of jobs it will create locally, they said that “up to 100 workers will be on site at any given time.” While some of the workers will travel with the construction company, it is understood a large number of positions will be filled locally, from general labourer to Site Administrator. Sub contractors will also part of the massive project.
As well as the direct jobs in construction, Ballinamore is preparing to witness a boost in revenue for the small surviving businesses. One hundred builders working in the town will put cash into the tills of shops, restaurants, pubs, accommodation providers and other services in Ballinamore.
Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided the debt funding totalling over €100 million for the school in Ballinamore and seven other schools throughout the country. The construction of the seven secondary schools and one primary school will result in around 1,000 construction jobs and, when complete, will create 5,700 new school places. The other schools are in counties Wexford,Waterford, Limerick,Galway, Donegal and Westmeath.
The schools will be constructed by BAM Building Ltd based in Kill, Co Kildare, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal BAM Group of the Netherlands.
Bam building said the project should take up to “18 months to complete” but they hope to “work within that.” It is intended that Ballinamore PPS will be able to accommodate 400 pupils in April 2014. The company said work will “start straight away” on the site.
The new school will have an approximate Gross Floor Area of 5,400 sq.m (5397.1) and includes general teaching accommodation, specialist classrooms/ workshops, physical education hall and ancillary areas, hard play courts & playing pitches and parking spaces. BAM will maintain the schools under a 25 year service contract.
The offical sod turning of the site is expected to occur over the next two weeks.
Bam Building said the recruitment drive is currently open and jobs are available locally and nationally within the company. Those interested should apply online at: www.bamcontractors.ie