Go ahead for 22 school building projects

Go ahead for 22 school building projects

Twenty-two school building projects have been given the go ahead in Northern Ireland.

It comes as part of a £220m investment.

Fourteen of the projects are primary schools and eight are post-primary.

They include a new-build to encompass the existing schools of St Mary's, St Paul's and St Michael's Grammar Schools in Lurgan.

Two proposals for controlled and voluntary post-primary schools in Co Fermanagh have also been approved, as well as new primaries in Islandmagee, Poyntzpass and Londonderry.

Education Minister John O'Dowd unveiled details on Tuesday.

"The projects been considered within the context of the area planning work being undertaken and form part of the long-term provision within their respective areas," said the Sinn Féin minister.

"The projects are aimed at either addressing serious or substandard accommodation inadequacies, or at effecting agreed rationalisation of the schools estate.

"Six of the projects will see permanent new-build solutions for Integrated and Irish-medium schools currently located almost exclusively in temporary accommodation.

"Fourteen of the projects, meanwhile, are required to deal with previous or planned amalgamations or rationalisation within the estate."

Mr O'Dowd also announced that the School Enhancement Programme, aimed at refurbishing or extending existing schools and worth up to £40m over the next two years, has now been opened to applications.

Today is a good news story, not only for schools, but also a good news story for the construction industry.

Education Minister John O’Dowd

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie welcomed the news about Down High School.

"This is very welcome news for the school community and the wider population of Down District," said the SDLP representative.

"Investment in a new build school for Down High has been needed for a long time. I have campagined with the school and local community for this new build project for a number of years, and despite setbacks related to funding issues we have continued to lobby the Department of Education and the South Eastern Education Board."

Trevor Clarke of the DUP said it is "excellent" news about Parkhall Integrated College.

"This is excellent news for the current staff and pupils of the school, as well as though whom the new school building will attract in future," said the South Antrim MLA.

"Parkhall Integrated College is the only post-primary school from the eight selected by the Minister to be based in the South Antrim constituency area, and I believe this new build project will enhance the learning conditions for many pupils in my constituency."

Alliance Education spokesperson Trevor Lunn MLA said: "I welcome this confirmation as will the Governors of other schools such as Drumlins Integrated in Ballynahinch and Rowandale Integrated in Moira to name but two.

"I hope that the Minister will apply this criteria in the future as they are also in urgent need of a new build. I look forward to detailed area planning proposals coming forward which will largely dictate decisions in the medium to long term."

Ulster Unionist Education spokesperson Danny Kinahan said the announcement was good for some schools, but he was also thinking of those who did not receive the cash injection.

"Many schools have been waiting for years and whilst today's announcement will be welcomed by the 22 schools affected, it will be perceived as a slap in the face by others who have been waiting for years for capital investment," he said.

"The future of our education system must not be looked at solely in terms of the school estate. The current reforms including the area planning process present us with an opportunity to further promote sharing across our education system."

List of projects to proceed:

  • Holy Trinity College in Cookstown.
  • Strabane Academy.
  • St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon.
  • A new-build project to encompass the existing schools of St Mary's, St Paul's and St Michael's Grammar Schools in Lurgan.
  • Parkhall Integrated College in Antrim.
  • Down High School.
  • Two proposals to meet the needs of the controlled and voluntary post-primary in Fermanagh. The first project is the provision of a new school to replace Devenish College and to facilitate the amalgamation or closure of Lisnaskea High School. The second is to provide provision of a new school to facilitate the amalgamation of Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School and Portora Royal Schools.
  • A new primary school to service Islandmagee and the surrounding area to include Mullaghdubh and Kilcoan Primary Schools.
  • A new primary school for the amalgamated schools of St Joseph's and St James' in Poyntzpass.
  • Gaelscoil Ui Dhochartaigh in Strabane.
  • Gaelscoil Ui Neill in Coalisland.
  • St Bronagh's in Rostrevor.
  • A project encompassing St Mary's Primary School Cargan and Glenravel Primary School.
  • Omagh Integrated Primary School.
  • Braidside Integrated Primary school.
  • Portadown Integrated Primary School
  • A proposal to provide a new-build solution to service the needs of three schools, Craigback, Mullabuoy and Listress Primary Schools, on the outskirts of Derry.
  • Corran Integrated Primary School in Larne.
  • Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast.
  • Glenwood Primary School and Edenderry Nursery school in the Shankill Area.
  • Edendork Primary School in Dungannon.


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