Education Dept Sanctions Additional Funds for Strule Shared Education Campus

Education Campus
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Stormont ministers have unanimously approved a £150 million allocation over the next three years for the construction of the Strule Shared Education Campus in Omagh. This groundbreaking project in County Tyrone represents Northern Ireland’s largest school building endeavor to date. The campus will accommodate over 4,000 students across six schools, featuring shared facilities. Originally slated to open in 2020, the project has faced setbacks and funding uncertainties. To date, only one of the six planned schools, Arvalee Special School, has been completed.

The estimated total cost has escalated to £374 million, up from the initial projection of £168.9 million, largely due to delays. Education Minister Paul Givan has acknowledged that the Department of Education lacks the resources to cover the campus’s expenses from its own budget. Describing the project as being at a “critical juncture,” Mr. Givan emphasized the necessity of executive support for his proposals, stating that the project would not have been financially feasible solely from his department’s capital budget.

“After a lengthy procurement process it is shovel-ready with a potential contractor in place and the full business case is being finalised. “However, without the return of the previously ring-fenced Fresh Start funding, the Strule programme will not proceed,” he said.

Loreto Grammar, Christian Brothers Grammar, Omagh High School, Sacred Heart College, and Omagh Academy are all aiming to move to the campus. Currently, £44.4 million has been allocated for the construction of Arvalee Special School on the campus, alongside a new road scheme and site preparation activities. First Minister Michelle O’Neill remarked in a statement that the Executive’s decision represents a substantial commitment to shared education. She emphasized that the campus will serve as a beacon for the inclusive society desired for our children’s future.

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