Construction work has begun on a new £7million build at Phoenix Integrated Primary School, Cookstown.
The investment from the Fresh Start Programme will provide a modern, seven class primary school and nursery unit accommodating over 200 pupils.
Speaking after cutting the first sod to officially mark the beginning of construction, Department of Education Permanent Secretary, Dr Mark Browne said: “Today’s event marks the start of a new era for Phoenix Integrated Primary School as work officially begins on a new school build.
“Having opened nearly 20 years ago with only 12 children, the school has now grown to over 200 pupils. This is testament to the foresight and commitment of all those involved with the school over the years who were determined to educate children from all our communities together.”
The scheme was first announced as a project to receive funding from the Fresh Start Programme supported by the UK Government in March 2016.
Dr Browne concluded: “Schools are places where children grow, thrive, learn and develop.
“This new build will ensure that the pupils of Phoenix Integrated Primary School have a modern, fit-for purpose school that provides a stimulating indoor and outdoor learning environment designed to support effective delivery of the curriculum.
“I want to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work and commitment and wish pupils, staff, Governors and parents every success in the future as their new school becomes a reality.”
Phoenix Integrated Primary and Nursery Principal, Heather Watson said: “The project was announced in 2016 and we are delighted to have reached this point. We are dedicated to the delivery of high-quality education for all our pupils and look forward to the development of innovative learning and teaching space, whilst retaining a family, community feel. It has been exciting to watch the school grow since it opened and look forward to a permanent building to further strengthen and develop our integrated education provision in the heart of Mid Ulster.
“An incredible effort of work has gone into getting us to this stage in such challenging times and I am grateful to our Board of Governors, the Integrated Consultant Team, the Department of Education and the design and build contractors for all of their efforts in making this happen.”
Construction on the site began in January 2023 and is due to be completed in summer 2024.
Notes to editors:
- Caption: Department of Education Permanent Secretary Dr Mark Browne, Principal Heather Watson, Chair of Board of Governors Liz Simpson and a number of pupils cutting the first sod to officially mark the beginning of construction works at Phoenix Integrated Primary School, Cookstown.
- McAdam Design are the Integrated Consultant Team on the project. Ganson UK Ltd were appointed to carry out the construction works.
- The Fresh Start funding forms part of the UK Government's commitment, as part of the Fresh Start and Stormont House agreements, to deliver up to £500million of new capital funding over 10 years to support shared and integrated education.
- New £6.9million extension for Enniskillen Integrated Primary School officially opened 26 May 2023
- Independent review of special educational needs will drive forward change for children and young people 23 May 2023
- Pastoral Care awards for local schools 22 May 2023
- Primary school pupils in Northern Ireland continue to be among the best in the world in reading 16 May 2023