West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

O'Dowd officially re-opens Arvalee School and Resource Centre

Published: 24 May, 2013

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, today officially re-opened Arvalee School and Resource Centre in Omagh, which was largely destroyed by fire last year. Speaking during the event the Minister said: "I welcome the opportunity to be here today to meet with pupils and staff and perform the official re-opening of the school. Much hard work has gone into bringing all the pupils of the school back together on one site again. "I visited Arvalee on the day of the fire and was inspired by the determination of staff and parents to ensure continued education provision for the pupils. Everyone united together and with the help of the Western Education & Library Board and neighbouring schools, they ensured that the young people of the school were back in full-time education in a matter of days. "Modular accommodation to replace that lost during the fire last September has been provided by Western Sectional Buildings in conjunction with the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) and funded by the Department of Education at a capital cost of £1.4million. The Minister continued: "Whilst today marks the return to the original site, it is only the beginning of a bright future for the school. Arvalee School and Resource Centre will move to the new Lisanelly Shared Education Campus as part of Phase 1 of the development. "Work has already begun on the design for new state-of-the-art accommodation. It is my intention to provide that accommodation as soon as possible for the benefit of all the pupils and staff of Arvalee School and Resource Centre. "Extensive consultation has shown overwhelming support for the project from the local community and from pupils. Lisanelly Shared Education Campus will provide the town of Omagh with a unique opportunity to lead the way in developing shared education facilities; facilities that will improve educational outcomes for young people in the area." Concluding the Minister commended everyone involved with delivering replacement accommodation for Arvalee School. He said: "I congratulate Principal, Johnathan Gray, the staff of Arvalee, Knockavoe Special School and St Eugene's College for ensuring the pupils of Arvalee continued to get the educational experience they deserve. This educational experience will be further enhanced with the move to Lisanelly. Arvalee will lead the way and provide an example that other schools can follow."