O’Dowd visits Belfast High School to view £3.785m investment project

Date published: 02 March 2016

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today visited Belfast High School, Newtownabbey to view progress on the £3.785m improvement project.

The project involves the construction of new sports facilities, including a synthetic turf playing area and the demolition of the old outdated facilities following investment through the School Enhancement Programme (SEP).

Speaking following the visit, the Minister said:

“This £3.785million investment has provided new sporting facilities which will positively impact on pupils, teachers and school staff now and for generations to come.

“Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a quality education. The School enhancement Programme (SEP) is an important way of providing that much needed work and I am confident it will help in the drive to improve education standards.”

The School Enhancement Project (SEP) was announced in 2013 for projects costing between £500,000 and £4,000,000. The programme is targeted to meet the immediate and pressing needs in schools where major capital works are not deemed deliverable.

Continuing, the Minister said:

“Since the launch of the School Enhancement Programme, 34 projects have commenced, representing investment of £80million. In addition, I have now announced a further £35million investment to enable another 12 projects to proceed to construction. This level of investment provides a significant boost to the construction industry.

“Improving the schools estate is a key priority for me and I will continue to seek additional funds to ensure the schools estate gets the attention that it needs and deserves.”

Mrs Lynn Gormley (Principal) and Mrs Charlotte Weir (Acting Principal) said:

“At Belfast High School we are delighted to have our facilities greatly enhanced with this wonderful Sports Hall, Drama Studio, Fitness Suite and AstroTurf pitch. Pupils, staff and parents have been watching the building work progress with great anticipation and excitement.”

Concluding, the Minister thanked Principal Lynn Gormley and Acting Principal Charlotte Weir for inviting him to visit. He said:

“I always enjoy visiting schools, especially when I have the opportunity to view investment projects that will positively impact on the entire school community. I thank everyone involved with this project for their hard-work and commitment in taking it forward and I wish everyone well for the future.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Work on site is due to complete in June 2016.
  2. The value of the construction work is £2.781m. The total project cost is £3.785m which also covers professional fees; statutory charges; F & E and VAT.
  3. McAleer & Teague Ltd were awarded the contract.
  4. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign promotes the value of education.  This year’s campaign aims to ensure that parents have information on schooling and that they are aware of the steps they can take to ‘Get Involved’ and support their teenager in achieving good outcomes at school.  Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect - Education Works for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  5. See photos from the Department of Education in our flickr collection.
  6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9268. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.

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