A new school building at Ballymoney High School paying tribute to one of the town’s most famous citizens has been opened by the Department of Education Permanent Secretary Derek Baker.
The Holmes Wing was named after the former Mayor of Ballymoney Mrs Mollie Holmes who had over 30 years of service as governor and chairperson of the school. Mrs Holmes died at the age of 101 in January 2016.
A competition to name the new building was held amongst the form classes in the school. Current Board of Governors Chairperson Mr Desmond Fulton judged the competition and the Holmes Wing was chosen as the winning entry.
Speaking at the opening, Mr Fulton said: “To some, today may just be the opening of a new building but to us in the Ballymoney High School community, it is so much more. It is the opening of a new chapter, the opening of new horizons and an opening of opportunities for each and every pupil and staff member.
“I’m sure Mollie Holmes would be delighted today to see the opening of the new wing for the betterment of the school which she loved and served for many, many years.”
Principal Mrs Cynthia Currie added: “This is a very important day in the history of our school. We are pleased that the efforts of governors past and present and key friends of the school in lobbying the case for new facilities at Ballymoney High have at last borne fruit.
“This new extension is a fantastic boost to supporting our young people giving them the resources and accommodation they deserve. The state of the art facilities will enable the school to build even further on our current provision, continuing to provide high quality learning experiences for all in the school community.
“As a school we would like to thank all involved in the planning, building and finishing stages of the project including those from the Department of Education, Education Authority and, in particular, staff in the Education Authority Property Services who liaised with the school in managing the project.”
Funded under the under DE’s School Enhancement Programme (SEP), the project cost £3.8million and houses specialist accommodation for home economics and ICT in addition to eight general classrooms. Construction started in March 2015 and was completed in December 2016.
Speaking at the official opening, Education Authority Chief Executive Gavin Boyd said: “One of the Education Authority’s key priorities is to ensure a fit for purpose, modern and sustainable schools’ estate which will help raise standards and close the attainment gap.
“The new Holmes Wing will undoubtedly contribute to this goal, ensuring that current and future pupils have access to a wide range of choices which allow them to meet their individual talents and maximise the chances to reach their potential.”
The official opening was attended by pupils, parents, staff and guests from the wider education community in Ballymoney. Mr James Holmes, son of Mollie, represented the Holmes family.