A massive £2.2 million investment in Ceara Special School in Lurgan has been welcomed.
The school is one of six which are benefiting from construction funding on the School Enchancement Programme.
Education Minister John O’Dowd announced the cash injection for Ceara School and five others on Friday.
He explained that the School Enhancement Programme (SEP) was announced in 2013 for construction projects costing between £500,000 and £4million. The programme is targeted to meet the immediate and pressing needs in schools, through smaller scale works, where a new build capital works is not deemed deliverable.
The other five schools are: · Millington Primary School, Portadown; · Dalriada School, Ballymoney; Donard Special School, Banbridge; Rainey Endowed (Phase II), Magherafelt; The Armstrong Primary School, Armagh;
The Minister said: “Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a quality education. The School Enhancement Programme is an important way of providing this much needed work.
“My department and the Executive more widely face enormous challenges as a result of the reductions imposed on us by the Westminster government. All aspects of the education sector have suffered including the capital budget.
“This meant that some of SEP projects were unfortunately unable to move to construction due to the constrained capital budget position.
“The improved and new accommodation at these schools will provide better facilities for young people to learn in and an improved working environment for all the school staff. This also represents a welcome boost for the construction industry.”
Sinn Féin Cllr Máire Cairns welcomed the news that Ceara School will now get an extension to provide an additional classroom and replacement of current temporary accommodation, with permanent building, at a cost of £2.2m.e.
Cllr Cairns said: “There was disappointment in March when the project was delayed as a result of Westminster budget cuts reducing the funds available to Education for building programmes.
!”At the time the Minister O’ Dowd said he would work to secure funds for the project and he has now done so.
“The benefits to the pupils, staff and school community will be immense and well deserved. Added investment will also be a welcome boost to our construction industry.”