The principal of Foyle College said he is “delighted” that work is now well under way at the new split campus the school will share with Ebrington Primary School.
The 35 acre site has now become a hive of activity as the new schools project off Limavady Road moves towards the construction phase.
The project, costing £35m, is the biggest investment in education locally for many years.
Foyle College principal Patrick Allen said contractors Herron Brothers have been on site for a number of days, with access roads into the school sites presently being built.
Mr Allen said: “We are delighted to finally see it under way. Foyle will be in place hopefully by the summer term of 2017. Ebrington are expected to be in their building by November 2016. Their school is a one-year build and ours is a two year build.
“There is a major amount of work to go on at the site and they will be starting shortly to do some of the clearance and digging. The site has quite a significant slope on it, so there is digging to be done to create a level area for the two schools and we are actually joined by a common kitchen and energy plant giving combined power and heat. We have doubled up the amount of solar panels that were going to be fitted to try and produce as much renewable energy as possible.”
Mr Allen said that Foyle has been trying to secure the new build for the past 20 years, while Ebrington have also been lobbying for their new school for around 12 years .
“We sometimes wondered was it ever going to happen so we are absolutely delighted to finally see diggers on the site,” he said. “As I have said to a few people, come 2017 the oldest school in the city will have the newest school, as Foyle will also have been, in its various guises, 400 years in existence by 2017.”
Mr Allen said a number of events are being planned for the quadricentennial celebrations, with the school opening as the centre-piece.