Pupils and staff from Strandtown Primary School welcomed education officials and special guests to the East Belfast school for a ceremonial sod-cutting to mark the start of work on a new £4m 12-classroom extension.
Education Authority (EA) Chairperson Sharon O’Connor cut the first sod, and was joined by the principal Victoria Hutchinson, governors, EA officials, representatives from contractors H&J Martin and EA strategic partner AmeyFMP to mark the occasion.
Pupils from Strandtown PS and from each of its three feeder schools, Dundela Infants School, Belmont Primary School and Greenwood Primary School also joined in the celebration.
“This day has been a long time coming but it was a very welcome sight to see the diggers finally arrive and begin work,” said Mrs Hutchinson.
“It is a landmark day for the entire school community and I would like to thank my governors, staff and parents for their support in getting the project this far. Hopefully this will be the first phase of a programme that will enhance facilities throughout the school.”
The new facilities are funded by the Department of Education’s School Enhancement Programme which provides investment to meet the immediate and pressing needs in schools through smaller scale works.
Ms O’Connor praised the dedication of the school staff, governors and education officials who have brought the project to fruition.
“I would pay tribute to the staff and board of governors for their stamina and patience in working through what is a long process that can at times be a very frustrating journey,” she said.
“However, the day is here and it is an exciting time for everyone who has been involved – the pupils, staff past and present, parents, governors, the planning and design teams, the architects, consultants and contractors, the Department for Education and indeed the wider community.”
Ms O’Connor added: “EA and our education partners want to develop a network of viable and sustainable schools that can deliver the NI Curriculum effectively.”