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First sod cut on new Academy campus

Emmet Taggart (Woodvale Construction), William Mealiff (Board of Governors), David Hampton (school principal), Robert Ewing (Woodvale Construction), and students Jamie McColgan and Molly Duffy.

THE first sod has officially been cut on Strabane Academy’s groundbreaking new building signalling the start of an ambitious £21.47 million regeneration project.

Present at the ceremonial sod-cutting on Friday were representatives from Woodvale Construction, past and present members of the Board of Governors, members of the Parent Teacher Association and a number of political representatives. Seven years in the making, the project marks the start of a new chapter in the history of Strabane Academy.

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“This is a great day for the pupils and staff of Strabane Academy and for the Strabane community,” said William Mealiff, chairman of the Board of Governors.

“Our new school building will help ensure quality post-primary education provision in modern surroundings with all the facilities that are required to deliver the North’s post-primary curriculum.

“Our dream of a brand new school is now becoming a reality.”

The new Strabane Academy will be a two storey building designed to offer classrooms and support accommodation for 700 pupils aged between 11-18-years-old. Work will be carried out by Omagh based contracting firm Woodvale Construction. Since 2010, Strabane Academy has been separated between a junior and senior campus across two different sites.

Sinn Féin councillor Brian McMahon said he is pleased that work on a new, more streamlined campus, is finally going ahead.

“It is incredibly good to see the project finally becoming a reality,” he said. “As a councillor attending on behalf of Michaela Boyle MLA, it is clear local politicians, the Board of Governors and the school have put in sterling work to facilitate the new building.

“As residents we are very excited about what the new campus will mean for our students and the local community. Most of all, it is fantastic that the renowned name of Strabane Academy can continue into the next generation.”

School principal David Hampton proudly heralded a new era for the Academy.

“We are very excited to get work underway and to see our new school take shape. The new cutting edge facilities will benefit staff and pupils of Strabane Academy for many years.”

“I would like to thank all those who helped make this groundbreaking project possible.” he added.

An artist’s impression of the new Strabane Academy building.

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