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Planners give go ahead to new multi-million pound Strabane Academy campus

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Planners give go ahead to new multi-million pound Strabane Academy campus thumbnailA computer-generated image of the planned new Strabane Academy building.

PLANNERS have given their approval for the construction of a new multi-million pound school campus for Strabane Academy.

At a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council's Planning Committee last Wednesday, members unanimously gave the green light to the development which will see the long-awaited construction of a new school building on the school's current Derry Road campus.

The scheme - which has been designed by architects Samuel Stevenson & Sons as a two storey building - will provide a state-of-the-art post primary school for pupils with classrooms and support accommodation.

As well as the school building the development will also see the construction of a synthetic hockey pitch, two rugby pitches, a cricket pitch, five tennis courts and car parking facilities.

The completed works will also result in improved traffic management on the site. Diggers are expected to move on-site within the next few months.

Since the merger of Strabane Grammar School and Strabane High School back in September 2011, the school has existed on the two campus' but the project will ultimately see all pupils transferred to the new facility.

Once complete, the new school will accommodate a total of 700 pupils from the school's two current campus; the Derry Road (junior) and Liskey Road (senior).

The development follows on from an announcement in January 2013 by the then Education Minister, John O'Dowd, that Strabane Academy was one of a number of primary and post primary schools to advance planning for new premises following the department's allocation of 220m to priority projects across the province.

The project will be built in two phases for "operational reasons" allowing pupils to remain in their existing campuses during construction, councillors were told.

This week, the Education Authority confirmed that work is now scheduled to begin this autumn.

"The Education Authority (EA) welcomes the planning approval granted by the Derry City and Strabane District Council. EA can now progress to the next stage in the new build development. Work is expected to commence in the Autumn term," a spokesperson told this newspaper.

The existing Derry Road building will be demolished once the new school building is complete and the historic Liskey Road site will close.

Speaking after the meeting, chairman of the Planning Committee, councillor John Boyle, said the approval - along with the go ahead for another school in rural Co Derry - was "excellent news" for the district's education sector.

"The council's Planning Committee is very pleased to give the green light for these two hugely significant investment education projects in our council area.

"The provision of these two new schools in Tamnaherin and Strabane is welcome news for the local communities," he said.

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