Construction work to begin on two new Derry schools

Education Minister John O'Dowd pictured at the cutting of the first sod at the site of the new Foyle College and Ebrington Primary School buildings at Caw. Included, from left, are Patrick Allen, Headmaster of Foyle College, Kacey Laird, a member of the College's school council, Luke Pentland, a P5 pupil at Ebrington Primary School, and Nigel Dougherty, Principal of Ebrington Primary School. INLS2215-106KM
Education Minister John O'Dowd pictured at the cutting of the first sod at the site of the new Foyle College and Ebrington Primary School buildings at Caw. Included, from left, are Patrick Allen, Headmaster of Foyle College, Kacey Laird, a member of the College's school council, Luke Pentland, a P5 pupil at Ebrington Primary School, and Nigel Dougherty, Principal of Ebrington Primary School. INLS2215-106KM
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Education Minister John O’Dowd today marked commencement of work on site for the new Foyle College and Ebrington Primary School in Derry’s Waterside.

Speaking during the visit, Minister O’Dowd said: “I am delighted to be here today to officially mark the commencement of work for these two new schools.

“The start of construction work on this site represents an investment of over £31 million by my Department and this financial input will have a major impact on the schools and the community and create many positive outcomes for both.”

The schools will be constructed using a phased approach.

The first phase is the primary school and energy centre which is due to be completed by September 2016.

The proposed new school build is for a 14 class base school with two moderate Learning Difficulties Speech and Language Units and a double nursery.

The second phase - the new Foyle College - is anticipated to complete in 2017 and will comprise a new build for 850 pupils, including new teaching accommodation, grass pitches, synthetic tennis courts and a 3G pitch.

The Minister added: “This is an exciting period for all the pupils and staff from both schools. I have no doubt the new facilities will enhance the learning experience and ensure that both schools are well equipped to deliver the curriculum for now and for future generations to come.

“Improving the schools’ estate remains a key priority for me and I will seek additional funds to ensure that this area of work continues to get the attention it deserves.”

Foyle MP Mark Durkan, who attended today’s sod-cutting ceremony, welcomed the start of on-site work.

“Today marks achievement and opportunity for both the college and the primary school and also highlights the signal advantage for the city for new uses for former military lands,” he said.

“This key stage also highlights the opportunity not just for the city but the region that comes with the Foyle College lands now being available for Ulster University and the expansion options which need to be advanced.”