West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Mc Aleer welcomes progress on Arvalee new build

Published: 12 December, 2012

West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has welcomed a renewed commitment from Education Minister John O Dowd to advance the Arvalee school replacement as a standalone project on the Lisanelly site.

The Minister was responding to an oral question from Mr Mc Aleer during question time on Monday. In his response, the Minister said 'The Arvalee site has since been cleared and work is under way to reinstate the school on its original site, with pupils returning, hopefully, in or around March 2013. 'Plans for the new build accommodation for Arvalee have been advanced to design stage C on the Lisanelly shared education campus, and an outline business case was recently received by the Department. 'Given recent events, officials from my Department have been working closely with the board to explore options to advance the Arvalee project as a stand-alone project on the Lisanelly site. Indeed, Arvalee could be one of the first schools to move to the Lisanelly site. I think that that in itself will give impetus to the project. 'When the community around Omagh sees actual building work starting on the Lisanelly site, I think that that will encourage other schools that are still deciding where to go. It will encourage them to see that the Lisanelly site is a real project and is happening. I would like to see Arvalee move as soon as possible. Speaking after question time, Mr Mc Aleer said 'The fire at Arvalee on 31st August this year sent shock waves around the entire community, particularly among the pupils and families directly affected. At that stage the Minister visited the scene and made a commitment to fast track the case for a new build. 'I am therefore glad that he, his department and the board are remaining true to their words and the project is being treated as a priority. This latest commitment will come as great news to everyone affected by this terrible event'.