£1.3m extension at Acorn Integrated PS in Carrickfergus

Primary one pupil Josh, helped by teacher Danielle Barnes, cuts a ribbon to officially open the new extension at Acorn Integrated Primary School. Pic by Mark Barnes Photography INCT 04-751-CON
Primary one pupil Josh, helped by teacher Danielle Barnes, cuts a ribbon to officially open the new extension at Acorn Integrated Primary School. Pic by Mark Barnes Photography INCT 04-751-CON
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A £1.29 million building extension has been officially unveiled at Acorn Integrated Primary School in Carrickfergus.

The scheme, which has provided three new classrooms, library and a play area, was funded through the School Enhancement Programme (SEP).

Staff, pupils and members of the wider school community attended celebrations at Victoria Road on Wednesday of last week.

Principal Clodagh Webb said: “The school has undergone a £1.29 million extension build and the new facilities include three classrooms, a library, multi-purpose room and resource area. The extension was funded through the Department of Education School Enhancement Programme and has greatly improved our facilities here at Acorn Integrated Primary School.”

Pupils from P1 to P7 cut the ribbons at the opening ceremony prior to the plaque unveiling by Denise Ferguson, chairperson of the board of governors.

Among the guests was East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson.

Mr Dickson said: “I know that this is something that the school has needed for some time and it’s great to see the work completed. I fully support properly integrated education and look forward to these enhanced facilities providing an opportunity to deliver the curriculum to children of different faiths, and none, well into the future.

“The new extension means that the pupils now have a better equipped and more functional learning environment and I was delighted to see so many people celebrating the occasion at the opening of the new extension. The turnout showed that the school and its integration goals have significant support from the local community.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd visited the following day to see the completed work.

The minister explained the SEP initiative provides an opportunity for schools to enhance and extend the lifespan of the existing estate.

Mr O’Dowd said: “I am delighted to be here today to see what a difference this project has made to the fabric of Acorn Integrated.

“The new facilities have provided a real boost which will enhance the learning environment and ensure that the school is well equipped to deliver the curriculum well into the future. “Projects like this one have been made possible through the School Enhancement Programme, which not only benefits the classroom, but also supports the local construction industry.”

Newmac Contracts, Portadown, completed the works at Acorn, which has an enrolment of 201 pupils and 26 children in the nursery unit.

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

East Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan welcomed his party colleague’s support for the project.

“The visit by Education Minister John O’Dowd to Acorn Integrated Primary School was to reinforce his commitment to the sector and ensuring that children are taught in the most up to date facilities,” said Mr McMullan.

“Not only has the extension provided three state-of-the-art classrooms but also provided a play area for children which is also important in their development.”