Construction started officially last Friday at the 36-acre site at Cornakinnegar Road where St Michael’s Grammar School once stood.
It is regarded as one of the largest post primary capital projects ever undertaken in NI, and despite many challenges along the way including delays, it is now full steam ahead for the long awaited new school building.
Since the amalgamation of St Michael’s with St Paul’s High School and St Mary’s High School, pupils have been educated at two sites in Lurgan at the old buildings in Edward St and Francis Street.
Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, and Archbishop Eamon Martin performed the ceremonial duties to start the project, for which completion date is spring 2025.
The new campus will feature a 20,000 square metre facility comprising three storeys and extensive outdoor sports provision. It will accommodate upwards of 1,750 pupils.
St Ronan’s College is the second largest post primary school in NI, and is an all ability, non-selective, co-educational, inclusive grammar school, promoting, developing and celebrating the individual strengths and talents of all students.
Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education, said: “I welcomed the opportunity to join with School Governors, Trustees and representatives of the wider St Ronan’s College community as they celebrated the start of the construction phase of their new school.
“It will bring the school together as one single campus and give everyone involved with the school an opportunity to further build their unique identity and ethos. I wish pupils, staff and school management every success as they set out on the next phase of their ambitious journey for their school.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin on behalf of the Trustees, said: “This is a very special day in the life of the parishes of St Peter's and St Paul's, whose support of Catholic education in Lurgan spans generations. Today marks the start of the construction of the dream of a thriving all-ability, non-selective, single campus grammar school in the town, meeting the educational, academic, pastoral, spiritual and extra-curricular needs of all young people. A College with high aspirations and high expectations, working hard to ensure that the young people of Lurgan and surrounding areas, have the opportunity to live life to the full.”
Mrs Patricia Carville, Chair of the Board of Governors of St Ronan’s College, Lurgan, said: “We look forward to the final part of the journey as we reach our destination in the next couple of years. It is what our young people, staff and the community deserve.”
Mrs Fiona Kane, Principal, St Ronan’s College, Lurgan, added: “Sincere thanks to every single person who has helped us reach this significant milestone today - we are simply over the moon!"
“The vision for the use of the new building is for full community use, a hub of learning, activity, creativity, sport and extra-curricular pursuits, interests and hobbies – throughout the day, into the evening and at weekends. We are a school at the heart of our community and community is at the heart of our school.”