Planners give green light for special needs school

An architect's impression of the new Rosedale Special School in Renmore.

The Brothers of Charity have been granted planning permission for a new special needs school in Renmore.

The plan for the new Rosedale Special School at the Woodlands Centre on the Dublin Road involves the construction of a new single storey school measuring 3,640 square metres and the construction of a new access road and site entrance from the Dublin Road.

The project – which will be funded by the Department of Education and Skills – will to include a bus set-down area, staff and visitor carpark with 60 spaces, junior play area and ballcourt with fence.

Rosedale provides an educational service for students aged between 6 and 18 years who have profound learning disabilities.

The new school will contain 14 classrooms, specialist classrooms, therapy rooms, pupil dining spaces, medical suite and administrative facilities. A general purpose hall, kitchen and laundry facilities are also included.

The school is designed to function in two sections; one for pre-schoolers and one for older pupils through to post-primary level, which will be interconnected by common areas and shared facilities.

“The majority of pupils arrive at the current school by way of specialist buses. It is therefore essential to provide adequate space for drop-off at the school’s front. Many of the pupils will have mobility aids and it is essential therefore to allow for several buses to stop and decant in an orderly fashion under cover.

“The bus lay-by provides for up to eight mini-buses to stop and decant without impeding vehicular circulation at the staff carpark. A turning bay is provided to allow the mini-buses to turn and leave the site without requiring reversing movements.

“A fenced play area with resilient paving material is located to the south-east end of the development and enclosed with a two-metre high sports fence. This area will provide safe contained play areas for pupils.

“A sensory garden is proposed at the south boundary. The sensory garden will serve as a teaching tool for ambulance and wheelchair-bound pupils. The sensory garden will incorporate planting and other landscape features such as benches, paths, water fountains, bird feeders and garden art.

“Small, semi-transparent canopies are proposed outside classroom spaces to provide shelter from the elements while allowing children to sit outside,” the application reads.

Galway City Council approved the application, adding a stipulation that all demolition and construction work be restricted to between 8am and 6pm Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

The Council has also sought a Construction Management plan which will include details of traffic management measures, parking, access points and dealing with noise, dust, vibration and odour.