Two north Belfast schools which are under construction will help deliver world class education to young people in the area, the Finance Minister said on a recent visit.
Sammy Wilson was speaking at the Belfast Boys’ Model and the Belfast Model School for Girls, which are being constructed at a joint cost of over £50million.
The work at the girls’ school is all but complete while the boys’ school is expected to be completed sometime in September this year.
Speaking at the Belfast Model School for Girls, the Minister said: “The construction of these new school buildings is a clear illustration of what can be achieved with the right amount of commitment and investment. During what is an extremely challenging economic environment, this investment will equip our young people with the education and skills necessary to help drive the economic recovery.
“The Executive is continuing to invest record sums, departments have indicated that gross capital investment for 2009-10 was £1.7billion.
“This money is providing the facilities needed to deliver a world class education for our young people. It can also benefit the wider community. The developments at both the Model School for Girls and the Boys’ Model School include sporting, performing arts and other facilities which are available out of hours to local groups and the broader community.”
Speaking about the Minister’s visit, Belfast Model School for Girls Principal Johnny Graham said: “Mr Wilson is here to see the excellence of our new school.
“Not only are the pupils benefiting from these top class facilities but also the local community as they are open from 7am to 10pm. We expect even more demand for our new facilities next year.
“It is a massive boost for the pupils as it gives them so many more opportunities for their education.”
The sporting facilities include large sports halls, synthetic pitches, running tracks and track and field facilities, some of which are located at Mount Pleasant.
Both schools are being delivered under a Strategic Partnering Agreement between the Belfast Education & Library Board and Amey-FMP. This consortium includes local construction firms Farrans (Construction) Limited, who were the main contractor for the new Model Schools, H&J Martin and Patton Construction. The schools were designed by local architectural practice McAdam Design. The total construction cost of both schools was in excess of £50million.
During his visit to the new Belfast Boys' Model School, Mr Wilson said: “These state of the art facilities, which are currently under construction, will help develop young people, drawn from the areas of Greater Shankill, north Belfast and Newtownabbey.
“The level of expenditure will not only benefit the pupils, but has also helped the local construction industry through this very difficult time and provided a boost to the local economy during the current economic downturn.”