Work begins on Strabane Academy new build.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Work begins on Strabane Academy new build. thumbnailThe turning of the first sod marking the beginning of construction work on the new multi-million pound Strabane Academy

THE first sod has been cut on the new multi-million pound education campus at Strabane Academy signalling the beginning of construction work.

There were smiles all around on Friday morning as staff and the Board of Governors welcomed visitors to the school for the milestone event.

Work on the 21.47 million build on the Derry Road site is expected to be completed by June 2021 with Woodvale Construction, Omagh, appointed to take forward the project.

The new school - 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, tennis courts and car parking facilities.

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 and the closure of the historic Liskey Road building.

Once complete, the new school will accommodate a total of 700 pupils from the school's two existing sites.

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 of Education's allocation of 220m to priority projects under the Schools Major Capital Programme.

Speaking on Friday, principal, David Hampton, said it was an exciting time for all involved with the school.

"We are very excited to get work underway and to begin to see our new school take shape.

"The new, cutting-edge facilities will benefit staff and pupils of Strabane Academy for many years to come," he said.

Chairman of the Board of Governors, William Mealiff, said he was delighted to see the school's long-held dream becoming a reality.

'Great day' Thanking everyone involved for their hard work and setting out the importance of the new school, he said: "This is a great day for the pupils and staff of Strabane Academy and for the entire Strabane community.

"Our new school building will help ensure quality post primary education provision for more than 700 pupils in modern surroundings with all the facilities that are required to deliver the Northern Ireland post primary curriculum.

"I wish to thank everyone who has been involved in ensuring that our dream of a brand new school is now becoming a reality."

Meanwhile, the contractor says it will work with the school and the Education Authority (EA) to minimise the disruption to the day-to-day running of the school over the building period.


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