THE principal of Holy Trinity College has described news that the school will receive funding for a new 1300 pupil establishment as ‘the icing on the cake’ for staff, pupils and parents.
Isabel Russell, head of the Chapel Street school, says she is “elated” that after years of lobbying, the Department of Education has committed to the project.
The Education Minister announced on Tuesday that Holy Trinty College would be one of 22 new build projects in a £220 million investment across the province.
“We are just totally delighted, absolutely elated,” Mrs Russell told the MAIL.
“We are just so thankful for this news and happy for the staff, parents and pupils who are finally going to get the facilities they deserve in the district.”
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Mrs Russell said the school has been in need of better facilities for almost two decades.
In October she re-emphasised the need of the new build stating: “Our children have a right to be educated in modern facilities; they have an entitlement to be treated as equals; they have a right to a high quality educational experience; we, as educators, must continue to do the groundwork so that our young people can prove that they are the best that they can be”.
Announcing the news in the Assembly on Tuesday, the Education Minister said the projects are aimed at either addressing “serious or substandard accommodation inadequacies”, or at effecting agreed rationalisation of the schools estate.
Chairman of Cookstown District Council, Tony Quinn welcomed the news and praised the work of all those involved in lobbying for the new build.
He said: “As Chair of Cookstown District Council I am delighted to have participated in working with the Cookstown Forum for Education towards delivering a long overdue new build for Holy Trinity College.
“Confirmation of ministerial approval for a new build project for Holy Trinity College is an important milestone on that mission.”
“I and my party colleagues have long said that Holy Trinity College needs this new build opportunity, and I commend everyone involved in bringing the project to this stage.”
Councillor Quinn continued: “In particular I would like to pay tribute to the community throughout the district who made their views very clear to the relevant authorities regarding the need for a 1300-plus pupil, all-ability school in Cookstown.
“It is expected that the next stage of the process will involve further public consultation and business planning,” he said.
“I would encourage everyone to redouble our efforts towards ensuring that the new Holy Trinity College that this area needs is delivered as a matter of urgency.”
Work on the new co-educational, all-ability school for 11 to 18 year-old’s is hoped to begin in the next financial year.
St Patricks Academy, Dungannon, Gaelscoil Ui Neill in Coalisland and Edendork Primary School in Dungannon are also set to benefit from new builds.