The College of the Immaculate Conception, Summerhill, Sligo, has opened a new state of the art extension for students with autism which will be known as the Bishop Christopher Jones Learning Centre. Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop emeritus of Elphin, a native of Tulsk, Co Roscommon, was Bishop of Elphin from 1994 – 2014.
Bishop Jones attended today’s ceremony along with many family, friends and invited guests. The centre was blessed by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, His Excellency, Archbishop Charles J Brown, and opened by Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council. The new centre includes two specially designated classrooms, a practical living demonstration room, a multi-sensory room, specialised outside gardening facilities, staff offices and resource rooms along with a large central activities space that can accommodate over 150 students. This space links the new building with the main school. Funding for the centre came from the Department of Education and Skills.
Speaking at the event Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, said, “I am particularly happy to be associated with the name of this new centre in appreciation of Bishop Christopher Jones who, asa past pupil, long serving staff member and patron of the College, represents that stability and continuity of service and faith which is so much a part of the tradition of the College”.
Bishop Jones thanked the Board of Management “for bestowing this honour on me at this time.” Bishop Jones added that he was “delighted to be associated so publicly with such a progressive development in the life of the College” and he expressed the hope that “education at Summerhill College will be forever inspired by the Catholic ethos and the two great commandments: ‘Love of God, and Love of Neighbour’.”
Today’s ceremony was led by students of the college and accompanied by the College Choir.