New £19m Carrickfergus school project to ‘break ground’ early in 2022
A £19m integrated education school construction project for Carrickfergus is expected to commence at the start of next year.
The new-build scheme will take place on Ulidia Integrated College’s existing site at Victoria Road in the east Antrim town and will cater for 800 people.
In an update this week, the school said it hopes to break ground early in 2022 with the main building taking between 18 months and two years to complete.
The developed design has been completed and the tender process for a design and build contractor has commenced, Ulidia confirmed.
A planning application for the scheme, which includes 3G pitches and facilities for PE, a Technology and Design suite, a dedicated study and wellbeing space for sixth form and new library, is currently being considered by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Principal Michael Houston said: “We have been asked why we are getting a new school when the current buildings are just over 20 years old – the answer is that the current buildings were only ever intended to be temporary and we have vastly outgrown them.
“When Ulidia Integrated College opened in 1997 it only had 62 pupils. When we moved to our current site in 2001, we had 17 staff and around 240 pupils.
“In September 2021, we will have 700 pupils and around 100 staff which is how many our new school will be built for. Those pupils will enjoy the state of the art facilities they deserve, on our current elevated site overlooking Belfast Lough.”
The decision to proceed with the new school 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.
A public information event was organised in June 2019 for the 9,980 square metres building ahead of a planning application being submitted.
At the time it was explained the new project would be constructed over two phases – the new school and pitch, followed by the demolition of the existing building and completion of site works. Click here
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.