CARRICKPHIERISH Community Campus, a €15m development which includes two schools, a library and a sports hub, has been officially opened. The impressive new facility was opened by Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring on Friday last.
“This magnificent state-of-the-art new community campus facility is unique in that it is an innovative partnership approach to the provision of a multi-use community facility and is the first of its kind in Ireland,” he said.
Waterford Educate Together National School and Gaelscoil na nDéise are located on the campus along with a 1,247square metre modern library, and a community sports hall. As well as being developed as the main community facility in the Carrickphierish area of the city, the library, which was funded by Waterford City & County Council, also provides services to the broader area. The campus includes a dedicated Teachers’ Resource Centre (the largest in the country) with over 20,000 books, classroom support materials, and specialist educational resources.
The Minister acknowledged that delivering the project was “no easy task” and “could not have happened without the commitment and support of the local community”.
“The great work and investment that Waterford City & County Council has put in to this campus hasn’t gone unnoticed,” he said.
He outlined his hopes that further such projects would be delivered and extolled the virtues of the public library system.
“My job is to make sure every government minister is accountable to rural Ireland,” he said, outlining the need for “balance”. “Rural Ireland must get its fair share,” he said.
Minister of State John Halligan said other areas would look on with “envy” at what had been achieved in Carrickphierish.
“This makes Carrickphierish an attractive location for families who will want to set down their roots in this part of the city,” he said.
Minister Halligan said there had been many setbacks and stumbling blocks along the way. “We all know this project wasn’t plain sailing,” he said.
“Today is a particular triumph for the resilience of many people who worked tirelessly since 2007/2008 to make this happen. Ten years ago, as the country was spiralling into financial crisis, a campus of this stature and expansion must have seemed like a pipe dream. Both schools, having been founded thanks to the tireless work of visionary parents, teachers and principals, endured long and challenging years in temporary accommodation. The official opening marks a new era of hope and ambition for the Carrickphierish community and for Waterford as a whole.”
He said the “synergy and collaboration” between Waterford City & County Council and the Department of Education and Skills in completing the project “augurs well for everybody’s future”.“This campus is concrete proof of what can be achieved when we work for common goals,” he said.
Senator Paudie Coffey (FG), who was also in attendance at the opening, said the development would have many benefits for Carrickphiersih and the wider area and noted that funding had been obtained for the project under the previous administration.
Many local sports and community groups are already benefiting from the use of the sports hall outside schools hours which is being co-ordinated by Waterford Sports Partnership Hub Development Officer, Louise Barry.
Speaking at the opening event, she said: “As Hub Development Officer with Waterford Sports Partnership, it is an immensely proud occasion to have the Sports Hub facility of the Carrickphierish Community Campus officially open. This is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to provide a facility that will benefit all members of the surrounding community.” The Carrickphierish Campus Steering Group was formed in 2016 and it includes representation from Waterford Sports Partnership, Waterford City & County Council’s Community Department, sports facilities and library services, Waterford Educate Together, Gaelscoil na nDeise, St Brigid’s Family Resource Centre, Waterford Area Partnership and Northern Suburbs Youth Project.
The group has prioritised a partnership approach to the development of this campus as an inclusive, welcoming, place of activity, learning and development.
The centre is now home for the newly formed Deise Dragons Multisport club for children and young people with physical disabilities, the Waterford Vikings Basketball club and also Roanmore GAA, Mount Sion GAA and De la Salle GAA use the facilities to cater for their juveniles and to engage local participation during the Winter and Spring months. There are Irish dancing classes for young people and fitness classes for adults as well as support for training and education for teachers, coaches and volunteers.
High quality sports equipment has been purchased for use by the schools and community.
Rosarie Kealy, Sports Co-ordinator with Waterford Sports Partnership said: “This is a really great day for all involved in this wonderful new campus. For us in Waterford Sports Partnership we can see the positive impacts of the work over the last two years in developing the Community Sports Hub. There are now many varied opportunities for the local community to participate in sport and physical activity using the equipment and facilities at Carrickphierish. We have worked in collaboration with Waterford City & County Council, local sports clubs, NGBs and local community organisations and it is those partnerships that will make this a sustainable facility. Thank you to all our partners for their great work.”