A state of the art new special school in Ballymena has been officially opened.
Castle Tower School caters for pupils aged three to 19 with severe, moderate and physical learning difficulties and is the only school in the Ballymena area for children with special educational needs. The school currently has an enrolment of 306 pupils.
The new school has a range of specialist facilities on a 13 acre site including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory courtyards and rooms, play facilities and a full height climbing wall. Specialist home economics kitchen, science labs and art rooms sit alongside a college style lecture theatre, social areas and a music room.
Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education said: “It always gives me great pleasure to be able to officially open any new school, knowing the real and positive change it brings to the daily life and operation of a school for the teachers, pupils and wider school community.
“This involves a significant investment of around £21million into this community and the new accommodation will provide Castle Tower with the much needed, state of the art, new school for the current pupils and future generations.
“I want to congratulate all those involved in the planning, design and delivery of this school. In particular, I would like to wish the pupils, the staff and the school management every success as you embark on a new chapter in your new school.”
Notes to editors:
1. The school was established in 2007 following the amalgamation of Loughan School, Dunfane School and Beechgrove School. It operated on a split site basis until the new building was opened on a new site in September 2017.
2. In June 2014, a business case was approved to build a new replacement school to provide suitable permanent accommodation on a single site for a long term enrolment of 285 pupils on the former Ballymena Girls and Boys High School site at Trostan Avenue in Ballymena an estimated cost of £21million.
3. The facilities are state of the art and include specialist facilities on a 13 acre site including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory courtyards and rooms, play facilities and a full height climbing wall. Specialist home economics kitchen, science labs and art rooms sit alongside a college style lecture theatre, social areas and a music room.
4. The contractor, Felix O’Hare, commenced work on site in October 2015. The new school was completed in August 2017 and opened to pupils at the start of the new term on 6 September 2017.