News

Five year wait expected for new schools including Iveagh

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

IT IS taking about five years for new school buildings in this area to be completed, judging by past experience.

Since 2012, a number of schools from Co Down have been included in the new school build projects previously announced by then Minister for Education, John O'Dowd .

He made five announcements for projects to be funded from the major capital budget - one each in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

In addition to these, he confirmed the first tranche of projects to advance in planning under the Fresh Start Agreement (FSA) funding package (50m per annum for next 10 years) for shared and integrated education.

Those schools listed in the major capital investment in 2012 have either been completed or are nearing completion, while those who were confirmed in the 2013 funding, are either in planning or on site, while those who were announced in 2014 and 2016 are currently in what the Department of Education calls "e a rly planning".

St Mary's Primary School in Banbridge was granted 6.8m in June 2012 to build a new school and it is expected to be completed in June.

Dromore Central PS, which also received 10.8m in the same year, has its new building and the school body has been in from the start of this year.

In the January 2013 announcement, St Brona gh's PS in Rostrevor received 3.9m for its replacement building. Contractors are currently on site with the school expected to be complete in October.

The two other schools in this area that received major capital funding at the same time as St Bronagh's PS were Iveagh Primary School in Rathfriland and St Jose ph's and St James PS in Poyntzpass.

It has been anticipated that it will cost 2m for the new school in Poyntzpass and 4m has been set aside for the new Iveagh Primary. Both these schools are currently "in planning" according to the Department of Education.

Funding for the amalgamation of Mourne schools - St Mary's, St Joseph's and Moneydarragh PS - was announced in June 2014. It is currently in "e a rly planning" with an initial cost of 3.5m being set aside.

New-Bridge Integrated College in Loughbrickland was one of the schools announced in the March 2016 Major Capital Announcement scheme.

This project, along with the majority of the projects announced in 2016 (including the Fresh Start Agreement) are "in the very early stages of planning".

"Costs and timelines for these projects will be subject to business case approval in due course," said a Department of Education spokesperson.

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