The first sod has been cut for a new £35m, 16,000m2 school for 1,300 pupils at Holy Trinity College, Cookstown.
Attendees for the special ceremony included Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill, and Department of Education Permanent Secretary John Smith.
Michelle O’Neill said the huge investment would “completely transform” Holy Trinity College and ensure its students had access to modern, world class facilities.
“This landmark day in the future of the school belongs to each and every staff member, parent, pupil and the wider local community, who worked with education and resilience over many years to bring this amazing project to fruition,” she said.
“All our schools deserve world class facilities to create the best possible opportunities for our young people to prosper in life and I am committed to working together with all parties to ensure that.”
Hamilton Architects are leading a multi-disciplinary team to deliver the school, which will be situated on a shale pitch at the rear of the existing building at Chapel Street.
Partner Graeme Ogle said: “This is an exciting opportunity to reimagine the old school building in a new, modern context to deliver world class educational facilities that sit very comfortably within the local environment.”
Construction will be delivered in two phases: Phase 1 will deliver the new school and games pitch; Phase 2 will see the demolition of the old school and completion of siteworks.
The existing school, which no longer meets the requirements of Department of Education guidelines, is to remain fully operational for the duration of the project.
The project design evokes Holy Trinity’s rural location by incorporating large expanses of coloured glazing, a brickwork plinth and an undulating pitched roof which harmonises with the rolling hills of the Sperrins.
The main 3-storey building will be positioned along a north-south axis around a central courtyard with single storey Sports and Technology annexes complemented by a 3G full-size GAA pitch.
Car parking and pedestrian access, along with new bus, car and taxi drop-offs, will provide access at the front of the site.