Delight for Newry schools after £106m investment announcement
There was widespread delight today after it emerged that several schools in Newry and South Armagh were set to benefit from a multi-million pound building project.
The investment, worth a potential £106million, will ensure that the schools benefit from refurbishment or extension projects, each valued between £500,000 and £4million.
Local schools earmarked for funding include Our Lady’s Grammar School, Rathore Special School, Sacred Heart Grammar School, Killean Primary School and St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint.
Announcing the news, Education Minister John O’Dowd said, “Last year I signaled my intention to establish a School Enhancement Programme.
“The purpose of this programme was to ensure that we provide the best possible education estate for our children and young people, within the budget available.
“The SEP is designed to enable the refurbishment or extension of existing schools and I am pleased to announce today that 50 schools have been informed that their applications have been successful and will be advanced to planning.
“This represents a potential investment in the estate of £106million over the next two to three years.”
Examples of projects proceeding under the School Enhancement Programme include the provision of permanent build accommodation to replace mobiles, refurbishment of existing accommodation and the provision of sports facilities.
The Minister added, “The successful projects are all consistent with the emerging area plans and the scale of the investment underlines my continuing commitment to improving the schools estate.
“Today’s announcement is good news for the pupils, staff and school communities involved, as well as being a welcome boost for the local construction industry.”
Speaking to Newry Times, local Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon described the injection of £106 million to the school estate as proof of Sinn Féin’s commitment to the continuous upgrade of local schools.
Fearon said, “I am delighted to see that two post primary schools in Newry; the Sacred Heart School, of which I am a past pupil and Our Lady’s School along with Killean Primary School have all been given good news that their applications for funding have been approved.”
“This funding injection will also be a welcome boost for the local construction industry and although some schools will be disappointed that they haven’t been included the Minister has indicated that the School Enhancement Programme will be ongoing and further announcements will be made in the future.”
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