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Principal blames rising costs and supply issues as plan for £30m new build derailed

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St Ronan’s principal Fiona Kane

St Ronan’s principal Fiona Kane

St Ronan’s principal Fiona Kane

A school principal has spoken of her disappointment after plans for a £30m new build were derailed this week.

Work on St Ronan’s College in Lurgan had already started, with the new facility expected to accommodate 1,750 pupils and scheduled for completion in 2023.

But rising costs and difficulties in sourcing materials since the project was given the green light in October last year have put the plans on hold.

It has led to fears that other school building projects scheduled for the next few years will face similar difficulties.

St Ronan’s College principal Fiona Kane said: “Due to unprecedented external circumstances on procurement and the construction market affecting every sector in Northern Ireland, it has not been possible to appoint a main contractor within our original timeframe.”

The Department of Education said that because of market uncertainties, and after seeking legal advice, the procurement process had been withdrawn and another would launched as soon as possible.

Mrs Kane said: “While we are disappointed by this short delay, on behalf of the college, I wish to reassure everyone associated with St Ronan’s College that the project board, the Education Authority and the Department of Education continue to work extremely hard as a team, supporting the college to ensure that the vision for the new campus for St Ronan’s College becomes a reality as soon as possible.

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“We are currently working with our professional teams to readjust our construction programme to take account of
the delay in awarding the main contract.

“We are finalising an approach to allow us to re-run the tender competition under a different model to minimise the impact of this unfortunate delay in our programme.

“While our project may have lost a beat, our work is proceeding at pace and is being taken forward at the highest level both within the EA and the Department of Education.

“The project board and the board of governors are confident that everything that can be done is being done.”

Mrs Kane said the setback to the timeframe “was totally beyond the control or influence of the project board and the Department of Education”.

She added: “I am confident that, together, we can deliver a fantastic college campus for the young people in our care, a school environment of which they can be extremely proud and that will communicate to them in a very tangible way how valued their education is by their community.”


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