£4million build plan for school

AMBITIOUS plans to build a new £4million school in Carrickmore took a major step forward this week, following a decision by the Department for Education.
Officials have now confirmed that they are to carry out a ‘suitability and condition’ survey over the next
three months for the proposed project at St Colmcille’s Primary School.
It is now over ten years since £750,000 was spent on acquiring land and obtaining planning permission
for the school adjacent to its current site on the Rockstown Road.
This latest development comes as the Department also approved a development proposal for an increase
in enrolment by more than 100, effective from this September.
This will see school numbers rise from 273 to 385.
Speaking to the UH this week, St Colmcille’s principal, Peter Cush welcomed the significant double
“The Department for Education have confirmed to us that they are completing the suitability and condition survey for the new school within the next few months,” he said.
“It is our hope this process will now be given added impetus by the decision to approve our increased
enrolment. The importance for us of that decision cannot be over-estimated.
“The approval of the increased enrolment development proposal finally removes the discrepancy that had existed between the numbers of children attending our school and the approved admission.”
The local principal added that a development proposal for a statutory Naíscoil (Irish language nursery)
on the site would be resubmitted, after a previous application was rejected by the newly reappointed
Education Minister, Peter Weir, during his last week in office three years ago.
The school’s Board of Governors and Trustees are now working in conjunction with the Council for
Catholic Maintained Schools to help with the completion of the Naíscoil development proposal.
If the new school plan eventually receives the green light, it would be built on a site to the rear of the
existing school.
It is envisaged that normal school activities would continue at the existing site while construction
was ongoing for the new build.
Under the plans, the existing school would then be demolished and redeveloped for play facilities and car parking to address inadequate traffic management procedures currently at the site, which is at the top of a hill and close to a roundabout.
The Trustees and Board of Governors of St Colmcille’s are pressing the Department for Education to honour the commitment given in 2003 to build a new school in Carrickmore.

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