Foyle/Ebrington to be on site in 2015
THE Chair of the Foyle College Board of Governors says a date of 2016 set by Universities Minister Dr Stephen Farry for the school’s proposed move to the Waterside is conservative and that he expects to be on site as early as Autumn 2015.
Back in June Education Minister John O’Dowd finally announced funding for the long-awaited Foyle/Ebrington co-location project at Clooney.
Now Dr Farry has hinted that Foyle College will vacate its Duncreggan Road premises in 2016 to make way for the expansion for Magee and just in time for the school’s 400th anniversary in 2017.
But Robin Young, Chairman of the Foyle College Board, says he’s sticking to what he told parents and pupils attending the school’s prizegiving recently: he expects to be on site in Clooney by Autumn 2015.
He says things are now proceeding smoothly in accordance with the overall Project Plan for the Foyle/Ebrington co-location and that the Education Minister’s approval of the £25m joint project during the summer had provided added impetus for local stakeholders.
“From a build perspective we are following our Project Plan closely. It is a very detailed plan and working from that we hope to be on site by the Autumn of 2015,” Mr Young told the Sentinel.
He said both Foyle and Ebrington were now hoping for all the necessary planning documentation and approvals to be fast-tracked to help meet the ambitious timeline.
Mr Young said he had been pleased by the Education Minister’s personal interest in the scheme.
“In fairness to the Minister he has taken ownership of all the capital projects he has announced and is insisting on design teams being in place by the second half of this financial year or the first quarter of the next financial year,” he said.
Foyle College hopes to progress this side of the project by this time next year, explained Mr Young.
The Foyle Governor also said that both schools appreciate the cross-community support for the co-location bid.
“This is good news for Foyle and Ebrington,” he said. “It’s a win win for the city as it provides room for Magee’s education corridor and it’s really had cross-community support from councillors and MLAs right along.
“It allows the schools to move into new facilities they’ve been waiting for for a long time. We can now move onto a single site, which is much easier to control and manage,”
Mr Young’s provision of a concrete date for the move follows a statement by Dr Farry this week, which suggested the school would be ready by 2016.
Dr Farry said: “The University of Ulster prepared a Strategic Outline Case for the expansion of the Magee campus which my department approved in the autumn of 2010.
“I understand that the University has exercised its option on the future purchase of the site.”
For the first time Dr Farry has hinted at a date for the Foyle college move.
He said: “At present it is estimated that the College will vacate the site in 2016. The funding required for the physical development of the site would be a matter for the University.
“The University is, however, seeking funding from government for 1,000 additional undergraduate places. Initially over the three year period to 2014-15, I have allocated an additional 322 undergraduate places to the University. The University has said that these places would all be deployed on the Magee campus.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west