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Twenty two school building projects to proceed



Twenty two school building projects will proceed as part of a potential £220million investment according to Education Minister John O’Dowd.

Revealing details of the new builds to the Assembly, the Minister also announced that the School Enhancement Programme, aimed at refurbishing or extending existing schools and worth up to £40million over the next two years, was being opened to applications from today.

Mr O’Dowd said: “In June last year I set out my Department’s capital investment plans which included an investment of over £133million in 18 new-build projects. Work on these projects is progressing well and I am confident that the first of these will be on site early in the new financial year.

“This reflected my aim of providing a first class education to every child in our school system despite the challenge of balancing limited resources against the large-scale capital investment needed across the estate.

“Today I am announcing a further 22 projects to be advanced in planning representing a substantial potential investment of some £220million. The projects, 14 of which are primary school projects and eight are post-primary, have been considered within the context of the area planning work being undertaken and form part of the long-term provision within their respective areas.

“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.”

The Minister highlighted that the authorisation to proceed with construction on each project would be based on the level of capital funding availability at that time and all necessary approvals being obtained.

The list of projects to proceed is:

· 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.

Mr O’Dowd went on to announce the opening for applications of the School Enhancement Programme. The programme, which will make funding of up to £4million available for refurbishing or extending existing schools, will initially be worth up to £20million in each of the next two financial years.

The Minister continued: “I have previously made it clear that the capital budget available meant we had to do more with the existing estate. That is why I established the Schools Enhancement Programme and I am pleased that I can now open the programme for applications. The available funding will be prioritised on projects aimed at improving existing facilities and enabling structural changes needed across the estate.”

In conclusion, the Minister said: “Today’s announcement is a continuation of the pragmatic approach I have taken to ensure strategic and effective utilisation of capital investment in the schools estate.

“It is also good news for the pupils, staff and wider communities of the schools due to benefit from this significant investment and will be welcomed as a much needed boost to the construction sector over the coming years.”


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