Sited at the former St Michael’s Grammar School at the Cornakinnegar Road, the £30m development is the largest single school project being supported by the Department of Education in NI this year.
The new school will accommodate upwards of 1,750 pupils when it opens in 2023.
At the 36-acre site, the new campus will feature a 20,000 square metre building comprising three storeys and extensive outdoor sports provision.
The new school will include general classrooms as well as specialist rooms for art, science, drama, technology, music, business studies, ICT, home economics and careers. Significant social spaces such as a dedicated sixth form centre and canteen/dining room will be provided for pupils as well as a large multi-purpose hall and library. Pupils who require additional learning support or have special educational needs will be accommodated with dedicated facilities.
Sport is also well catered for with two full size grass and synthetic GAA pitches and a further grass pitch for soccer. Internal facilities will include a 660 square metre sports hall, a large gymnasium/hall and a fitness suite complemented by a range of changing and shower rooms.
Provision has been made throughout the campus for access and use by people with disabilities.
Following planning permission granted by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council a five-month demolition programme is now underway to clear the site of all existing school buildings.
Respecting its heritage, the on-site school Chapel building will be preserved, refurbished and repurposed as part of the development programme.
Welcoming the start of works St Ronan’s College Principal Fiona Kane said: “Since the formation of St Ronan’s College in 2015 following the merger of St Paul’s Junior High School, St Mary’s High School and St Michael’s Grammar School we have planned for a single campus state-of-the-art school which would provide the optimum learning experience and facilities for our pupils.
“I am delighted to see that dream becoming a reality with the physical works now beginning.
“We are very grateful to Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the local community for their support, to our Trustees and to our Board for its vision and determination and to the staff and pupils for their patience and enthusiasm as we progress on the development journey.
“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved so far and look forward to a school and facilities which will bring enormous benefit not only to our pupils but to the whole community.”
A formal tender competition to appoint the building contractor is currently in progress with a target award date of early June 2021 and with an expectation that the successful building contractor will move on site during late summer 2021.
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