Construction has started on the new £28million Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle.
The project represents an investment of over £28million from the Fresh Start Programme and when completed, will provide accommodation for 620 pupils.
Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education said: “This is an important day for Shimna Integrated College as work begins on a brand new school for the local area.
“This is a significant investment which will benefit pupils, staff, teachers, parents and the wider community.”
The scheme was first announced as a project to receive funding from the Fresh Start Programme in March 2016.
Dr Browne continued: “Ongoing investment in our schools’ estate is essential if we are to continue to provide a high quality education for all our young people. As well as the investment in our schools’ estate, it also helps the local economy and secures construction jobs.
“I wish all the staff and the school management every success on this exciting new chapter in the life of their school as they look forward to enjoying their new building and facilities.”
Steve Pagan, Principal of Shimna Integrated College, said: “Today is a truly momentous occasion in Shimna’s history. It’s been a privilege to share it with so many of the College’s founding figures, including Angela Morgan, the first Chair of Governors, and Kevin Lambe, Principal for the first twenty-seven years. With our thirtieth anniversary next year, this reunion is the beginning of our celebrations.
“Our new school is the result of years of vision, planning and teamwork. I pay tribute to everyone involved. Generations of children will reap the reward with an educational setting second to none. It is an investment in their future. Long may Shimna remain at the heart of our integrated community.”
Some initial construction on the site, which includes the redevelopment of sporting facilities in Donard Park, began in late November 2022 with final construction works due complete in summer 2025.