School plans a third storey
San Anton School plans to expand upwards by building a third floor on a large portion of its current footprint through an €800,000 investment, The Times has learnt.
The investment will give the private school 10 more classrooms, a resource room and a multipurpose hall that can accommodate all the children in either the junior or the senior sector.
San Anton, an independent not-for-profit school set up by the Parents’ Foundation for Education, was built in the early 1990s above the picturesque valley of Imselliet.
Despite controversy over the environmental impact of the school at the time, the site later came to house a second school, San Andrea, set up by the same foundation.
“This is a major investment for the school and one which must be carefully conceptualised, planned and financed.
“Our plans are to go ahead with this investment in summer 2013,” San Anton School’s board chairman Simon Flynn told parents in a circular over the past days, stressing that the school would go through the appropriate processes.
“Our plans are to fund the investment over 12 years, meaning that those who benefit most from the investment will ultimately end up paying more for it,” Mr Flynn said. An increase in fees will kick in “after the investment is completed”.
In the circular, Mr Flynn explained that the demand for the school had reached record levels: “We are fast running out of space that we need to expand for both classrooms and other activities”.
The board has even decided to “exceptionally” add a fifth class in pre-grade to meet the demand and rebalance school numbers to compensate for those years where not all grades were filled in the past.
However, even with this fifth class, there are still waiting lists.
“This does not mean that we are looking at increasing the school population. Once numbers have reached our optimum capacity, we will revert to the four classes per grade model on which the school is based,” Mr Flynn said.
Meanwhile, the school’s dream of having a fully-equipped theatre within the school was not financially feasible within the current space constraints.
The school recently benefitted from a Budget scheme which allocated €1 million divided among independent schools.
“We shall be applying this amount, and a bit more from our internal resources, towards acquiring interactive whiteboards in every class, equipping every teacher with a laptop and significantly improving the equipment in our science labs and in the junior sector,” Mr Flynn told parents.
One of the main difficulties facing those who attend the school is the daily traffic congestion.
San Anton has now teamed up with San Andrea to approach the authorities about how this problem could be alleviated.
“There is no magic quick fix solution to this problem. Real solutions involve measures such as widening roads, constructing new roads and even the expropriation of land,” Mr Flynn said, adding that all avenues were being pursued.
“But I am going to have to ask for everyone’s patience until we get there.
Meanwhile, I also appeal to everyone to respect the rules.”