New £19m school plan for Ulidia

Ulidia principal Michael Houston.
Ulidia principal Michael Houston.

A public information event will take place later this month to outline plans for a new £19m school at Ulidia Integrated College in Carrick.

A proposal has been outlined for construction of a 9,980 square metre building on the existing site at Victoria Road to accommodate 700 pupils.

A new building has been designed.

A new building has been designed.

The information event will take place in the school, on Tuesday June 25, from 4.00 pm until 7.00 pm.

However, a planning application has not yet been submitted to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Interested parties will be invited to make comments on the proposed design which can be obtained from Hamilton Architects in Belfast before July 17.

A spokesperson for the architects said: “The project, designed by Hamilton Architects, proposes the construction of a new 700 student school on the existing site.

“The building would be constructed over two phases – the new school and pitch, followed by the demolition of the existing building and completion of siteworks.

“Currently, the school provides teaching accommodation for 581 students supported by 83 teachers and 26 non-teaching staff.

“Built in 2002, and augmented by temporary mobiles, the current facilities and play provision fall well short of current Department of Education requirements.”

Hamilton Architects has been involved with a number of award-winning education projects in recent years including the South Eastern Regional College in Bangor.

This will be a second new-build development for the college since Ulidia opened in September 1997 in mobile accommodation in Whitehead with just 63 pupils. Ulidia was not granted full funding until September 2000. Ulidia Integrated College was then able to join the ranks as one of Northern Ireland’s fully-funded integrated colleges.

However, the school is now currently over-subscribed by 70 per cent with 500 pupils enrolled.

Ulidia principal Michael Houston said: “This is a superb opportunity and we are thrilled to be part of the Fresh Start Agreement. Ulidia’s current buildings were built to house only around two thirds of the current population of the College.

“The build is much-needed to meet the demands of our broad curriculum which offers both grammar and all-ability pathways alongside maintaining the religious balance required of an integrated school.

“The build will give us higher capacity for changing and upgraded facilities for PE, three technology and design rooms instead of the single one we currently have, a dedicated study space for sixth form, a stunning new library with views over Belfast Lough and much more.

Ulidia Integrated College is working hard to ensure that our young people get the best possible educational opportunities that we can offer.

“Further, a great deal of thought has gone into easing the traffic situation outside the College in the mornings and afternoons as well.

“Although Ulidia remains heavily oversubscribed, it is important to note that this build will cater for our current numbers, giving them the facilities and classrooms that other similar sized schools already have.

“These are exciting times for Ulidia Integrated College and for Integrated Education in the Carrickfergus area.

“The decision was taken by the Department of Education and approved by the Department of Finance as part of the Fresh Start Agreement money that was promised to Integrated and Shared Education.”