Belfast Telegraph

School’s back for Whitehouse kids

by Michael Bashford



Pictured with pupils at the sod cutting for the new Whitehouse Primary School are, from left, Victor Hamilton, Project Manager, GRAHAM Construction, Nigel Dodds MP, David McConkey, School Principal, Shane McCurdy, Chief Executive, NEELB and Keith Patrick, Projects |Director, GRAHAM Construction

THE first sod has been cut at Whitehouse Primary School in Whiteabbey.

The original school building, situated on the Doagh Road, was destroyed in an arson attack |last July.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds joined principal David McConkey, staff, pupils and other guests for the occasion last week.

Mr Dodds said: “This is a positive end to what has been a long and difficult year for all associated with the school since the senseless arson attack which destroyed their premises last July, followed by moving into temporary premises and then protracted uncertainty over whether funding for the new premises was going to be signed off by education minister, Catriona Ruane.

“Following public outcry and protest which I supported, that funding was finally approved and Whitehouse can now look forward to having new state-of-the-art buildings.

“I was delighted to join Mr McConkey, staff and pupils for this red-letter day, particularly to see the excitement on the faces of the children. I trust the work will continue smoothly and on schedule and I will take a keen interest in following that progress.”

Ms Ruane announced in May that a new school would be built on the Doagh Road site at a cost of £3.6 million. The minister was strongly criticised after she suspended plans to rebuild the school as part of a review of all school capital building projects.

However after weeks of campaigning and protests by staff, children and parents, the minister reversed her decision.

Construction of the new premises is expected to take 12 months to complete.

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