BAM to Start construction of eight schools unlocking Public Private Partnership Model

The Minister for Education and Skills warmly welcomed the start of construction today (Monday 12th November) of eight schools which are being delivered under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. These are the first public sector projects to be funded under the PPP model since June 2010.

These schools in counties Westmeath, Leitrim, Limerick, Galway, Donegal, Wexford and Waterford are the third bundle of schools to be built under the Department of Education and Skills school PPP programme.  They are part of the five year school building programme already announced by Minister Ruairí Quinn T.D. earlier this year.

A loan of €50 million has been secured through the European Investment Bank (EIB) which has meant these new schools can now proceed to construction.  The total value of the construction costs is estimated to be approximately €100 million.

The eight schools will provide accommodation for approximately 5,700 students.  Six of the eight schools are second level schools; while the two remaining schools to be built in Doughiska, Co. Galway, are a primary and a secondary school which will share a single campus.

Minister Quinn said, “This is very good news for the communities in counties stretching from Donegal to Waterford who have been waiting for their school building projects to be given the green light.”

“I am particularly pleased that the EIB has again decided to support the Department’s schools capital investment programme with a loan of €50 million which will assist in funding this investment.  It is a further signal of the bank’s renewed confidence in the Irish State and our recovery programme.”

President of the EIB,Werner Hoyer, said, “The landmark agreement to support construction of eight new schools marks the reopening of the PPP sector in Ireland. The European Investment Bank is committed to enabling education investment in Ireland. This project complements EIB support provided in July to build 550 new classrooms and backing to redevelop University College Dublin a year ago.”

The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) is responsible for advising State Authorities on the best financing of priority public investment projects.  These eight schools in PPP Bundle 3 were referred to the NDFA in July 2010 to assist in securing funding.

BAM PPP was appointed preferred tenderer in September 2011 and all planning issues were granted by May of this year.  Now that funding has been secured, construction is expected to begin immediately.  The project financing includes EIB, Bank of Ireland and the National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Theo Cullinane, BAM Chief Executive said, “We are pleased to be investing in the Irish market and to have been able to partner with the Department of Education and Skills, the NDFA and our senior lenders Bank of Ireland, the European Investment Bank and the National Pensions Reserve Fund to develop a financing solution for the project.  The successful financing of this project augurs well for future PPP projects.”

Tom Hayes, Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking, said, “This transaction highlights Bank of Ireland’s commitment to supporting local communities throughout the country. It will create more than 1,000 much needed jobs during construction and on completion will provide first class educational facilities for over 5,700 pupils and serve generations to come.”

Earlier this year, Minister Quinn unveiled a five year Schools Capital Programme worth €1.5 billion.  This will see a total of 275 major school buildings projects commenced between now and 2016.  The €50 million loan being provided by the EIB will assist in funding this investment.  Since 2008 the European Investment Bank has provided nearly €350 million for investment in schools and universities in Ireland.

All schools are expected to be completed by 2014.  Their completion will bring the total number of schools delivered under the PPP model in the State to 23.