Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Revealed: The 18 Northern Ireland schools which will share £173m cash pot

Eighteen schools will receive new facilities as part of a £173 million investment, Education Minister John O'Dowd has said.

The money includes payments for five special schools. A total of 17 of the schools will be rebuilt.

Foyle College in Derry and Victoria Park primary school in Belfast are among those granted funding, Mr O'Dowd added.

He said: "This will be good news for the pupils and communities directly affected. A world-class educational environment will help us deliver the improvements in educational outcomes we are working so hard to achieve."

It is the first money made available for major projects since August 2010 when capital spending was frozen. Some schools have been waiting years for urgent rebuilding or refurbishment.

Plans were cancelled while administrators decided where new schools were needed.

Almost two years ago, then education minister Caitriona Ruane released £23 million for 13 schools.

All those projects have been built or are nearing completion.

Mr O'Dowd said there was a clear need for considerable investment in infrastructure.

He added: "The need for investment far exceeds the funding available. While I would like to be in a position to fund everything that needs doing now, I must work within the budget available. This means difficult decisions on future investment plans."

He said the schools were identified as the highest priority projects following a rigorous selection process.

"No-one visiting our special schools could remain unmoved by the needs of the children attending these facilities. I would dearly like to be able to advance every deserving case immediately," he added.

"However, within the limits of the funding available to me, I am determined that we make progress with a number of cases at this time."

In addition to plans for St Gerard's Resource Centre in west Belfast to occupy a former school and Arvalee Special School to be part of the redevelopment of the former Lisanelly army camp in Omagh, the list of projects to proceed is:

:: Colaiste Feirste, Belfast - £11.9 million

:: St Clare's Convent & St Colman's Abbey Primary School, Newry - £6 million

:: St Joseph's Convent Primary School, Newry - £5.8 million

:: Dromore Central Primary School - £11.4 million

:: Eglinton Primary School - £2.5 million

:: Tannaghmore Primary School, Lurgan - £6 million

:: Ebrington Controlled Primary School, Derry - £4.5 million

:: Foyle College, Derry - £19.6 million

:: St Teresa's Primary School, Lurgan - £3 million

:: Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast - £4.9 million

:: Enniskillen Model Primary School - £5.7 million

:: St Mary's Primary School, Banbridge - £5.1 million

:: Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagain, Belfast - £2.5 million

:: Belmont House Special School, Derry - £7.4 million

:: Rossmar Special School, Limavady - £6.4 million

:: Castle Tower, Ballymena - £21.8 million.

Alongside the immediate commencement of these new builds, Mr O'Dowd announced funding to progress a number of additional projects through the planning process.

This will allow building work to commence more quickly when future funding becomes available. In the autumn the minister will unveil a further list of projects to be taken forward.

Mr O'Dowd also announced the establishment of a new Schools Enhancement Programme.

This programme will make available funding of up to £4 million for any individual project refurbishing or extending existing schools.

Priority will be given to those supporting amalgamation or rationalisation.

Initially up to £20 million will be available for this programme in 2013-14 with the option of increasing this in 2014-15 depending on the number and quality of proposals.

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