Education Minister John O’Dowd has cut the first sod on a £6.8million new build at St Mary’s Primary School in Banbridge.
The new school will be a 14 class base primary school with a single nursery unit and two Moderate Learning Difficulty classrooms. The pupils have been decanted to the St Patrick’s College site for the duration of the build.
The new build for St Mary’s was included in the Minister’s capital announcement in June 2012.
Speaking as he cut the first sod, the Minister said: “Today marks a major milestone in the history of your school.
“This £6.8million investment will soon culminate in a brand new school, which will provide modern, state of the art facilities for young people to learn in and an improved working environment for all the school staff.
“Ongoing investment in our schools estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a high quality education.
“As well as that investment in our schools estate it also contributes to the local economy and secures many construction jobs.
“I am delighted to be here with you today to see your new build get underway. I wish you all well for the future and I look forward to seeing the new school when construction is completed.”
St Mary’s School Principal Des O’Hagan welcomed the Minister to the site and the beginning of construction work.
He said: “This is a very exciting time for all involved with our school. We are absolutely delighted that St Mary’s children will continue to develop and flourish in a brand new building.
“On many occasions we thought today might never happen but we are delighted for all our parents, staff, and pupils present and future who will enjoy our new school building with the most modern facilities available.”