It would appear that Tramore’s new unisex secondary school may not be built until the end of 2012.

Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy tabled a Dáil question last week seeking the up-to-date position vis-à-vis the proposed amalgamation of the CBS and Stella Maris, the tendering process involved, and the estimated timescale for same.

Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said the project was one of the eight schools he approved last December for inclusion in the 3rd Bundle of schools to be procured via Public Private Partnership.

“This bundle is in the pre-procurement stage. Detailed output specifications and Public Sector Benchmark are being prepared and outline planning applications have been submitted to the relevant local authority for all eight schools.

“On successful completion of this process, it is my intention that the Bundle will be handed over to the National Development Finance Agency for procurement. The indicative timeframe for the delivery of a PPP school currently stands at approximately 4 years from the date the Bundle is announced,” he said.

Based on this schedule, the school should be built by December 2012. It was March 2007 that the Office of Public Works confirmed the purchase of 14 acres of land at Ballycarnane for just over €4 million.

Minister Martin Cullen said at the time: “The tender process will commence shortly so building work can start as soon as possible.”

The school authorities hoped that the new 1,000-pupil campus – complete with a gym, library and multi-sports playing facilities – would be completed by 2010.

The overall cost was then estimated at more than €18m, though tenders should be much more competitive now one would think.

The successful applicant will finance the construction and ongoing maintenance costs over a 25-year period, in return for mortgage-type payments from the Department, to whom the school will eventually be handed over.

It’s just one of several school projects on the longer finger as far as Tramore is concerned.