Belfast Telegraph

Signed, sealed and set to be delivered

by Natalie Gorman

Two schools in south and east Belfast are celebrating after the multi-million contracts for their new school builds were signed off by the education minister this week.

Caitríona Ruane signed off the £31 million capital contract for a new school building for Tor Bank Special School in Dundonald and the refurbishment of Lagan College on Tuesday (March 15). The contract also provides building maintenance and facilities management for the next 25 years.

Speaking at the formal contract signing, Ms Ruane said: “The project opens a new chapter in the education of young people in Lagan College at Castlereagh, while in Dundonald, Tor Bank has an important role meeting the educational needs of some of our most vulnerable children.

“This £31million capital project is also more good news for the construction industry.

“I would also like to thank the school authorities, Board of Governors and staff of each school for the hard work they have put in to reaching this milestone.

“These new facilities will provide the pupils attending the two schools with a rewarding educational experience for many years to come.”

The new school for Tor Bank — where children with severe disabilities have been educated in mobile classrooms — will be located in the grounds of Dundonald High School and will bring all the pupils back under one roof and on one level.

Colm Davis, principal of Tor Bank said: “Community links are very important to the school, as community projects benefit our pupils. This new school build will still allow us to maintain those links, keeping us within easy access of Dundonald village.”

The new school will also include a new canteen and PE hall, as well as a light and sound room and soft playground.

Mr Davis added: “The children will have so many more resources available to them.”

Alliance councillor Judith Cochrane said: “This is a long overdue and very welcome announcement for Tor Bank. The school has endured particularly difficult conditions as regards their buildings for far too long, and I am very pleased at this news.”

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