McIlveen cuts first sod for new £33million build for Down High School

Date published: 27 October 2022

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has cut the first sod on a major project to provide a new school building for Down High School in Downpatrick.

Photo of the Minister of Education, Michelle McIlveen at Down High School.

The sod-cutting marks the start of construction on the new school with an investment of almost £33million by the Department of Education. Catering for up to 950 pupils, the new building will include the construction of a sports hall, PE facilities and sports pitches.  

Speaking at the new Down High School site, Minister McIlveen said:

“This is a really exciting day for the whole school community as work gets underway on their new building. This is a significant £33million investment by my Department and will provide a modern learning and teaching environment, tailored to meet the needs of pupils and teachers. 

It is important to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of the school and its stakeholders in helping to bring the project to this stage. Today, they can all be proud of this important milestone as they look forward to their new school building becoming a reality.”

Graham Construction was appointed to carry out the construction works which are due to complete in Spring 2025.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Caption 1: Education Minister at the site of the new school with Down High Principal Mrs Maud Perry, Year 8 pupils Ariana Curie and Harry Alexander and Graham Group representatives Gary Holmes, Gareth Brown and Ciaran Leahy.
  2. Caption 2: Education Minister being welcomed to Down High School by Principal Mrs Maud Perry, head boy Reuben Smyth and head girl Sasha Wilkinson.
  3. McAdam Design are the Integrated Consultant Team on the project. Graham Construction was appointed to carry out the construction works, which are due to complete in Spring 2025.
  4. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni
  5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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