Proposal to build €49m education campus


A PLANNING application has been lodged for a €49 million education and training campus on the 22-acre grounds of a former seminary and secondary school in Cork city.

The proposed new campus at the Farranferris College site on the north side of the city will include three educational buildings, a small retail premises, a two-storey creche, a multi-level car park and 90 dwellings of one to three storeys.

The proposals also include the provision of an all-weather playing field, two play areas and a multi-use games area.

The project is an initiative by the Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley, who is responsible for the site on behalf of the diocese. Dr Buckley has campaigned for many years for a campus for education and training on the north side of the city which will incorporate post-Leaving Certificate courses and training.

Dr Buckley says he has engaged with Cork City Council and is encouraged by their support.

“We have received great support for our plans for Farranferris, as people appreciate that since the early 1880s this location in Farranferris has been an important part of the educational and social heritage of the city.”

Developer Michael O’Flynn, who is a past pupil of Farranferris College, has prepared the report and plan for the site on a voluntary basis.

The building is already being used for educational purposes. Northside Community Enterprise provides a wide range of training courses with up to 500 students and staff involved.

This is expected to rise to nearly 1,000 in the new campus. In addition, more than 200 workers will be involved in the construction of the project.

The seminary building at Farranferris, which closed as a post-primary school in June 2006, is a listed structure.

The boys’ secondary school, which was known as St Finbarr’s College, included RTÉ’s Bill O’Herlihy and Cork county hurler John Gardiner among its alumni.

In its final year it had 73 pupils. Known as “Farna”, it was considered one of the finest nurseries of hurlers in the country.

Plans for the site went on display last night at Farranferris. It is hoped the project will be completed by 2014.

The Farranferris Local Area Plan was adopted by the members of Cork City Council at the ordinary council meeting of July 13th, 2009.

At that time, the former secondary school site was designated as a training/educational facility, while a portion of the college grounds are being zoned for recreational and residential development.

In a separate development, the final details of the Knocknaheeny Regeneration Plan are to be released to the public later this week. The plan will reveal details of the regeneration of Knocknaheeny and Hollyhill on the north side of Cork city.

Sinn Féin plans to hold a public meeting in Knocknaheeny in the next week to give residents the opportunity to voice their views on the plans.