Work begins on £3m project at Friends

Education Minister John O'Dowd meets Head Boy and Girl Gareth Hill and Emma Rutter, from Friends' School, Lisburn,  as a �3.3million construction project begins at their school.'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Education Minister John O'Dowd meets Head Boy and Girl Gareth Hill and Emma Rutter, from Friends' School, Lisburn, as a �3.3million construction project begins at their school.'Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

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Education Minister John O’Dowd has visited Friends’ School Lisburn as a £3.3 million construction project begins.

The project is part of the School Enhancement Programme which was announced by the Minister in 2013 including refurbishment or extension projects, each valued between £500,000 and £4million.

The construction works at Friends’ include new accommodation for the Music, Maths and History Departments and involves the replacement of the Harding House Building.

Speaking as he visited the school, where he met pupils and staff, the Minister said: “This is an exciting time for pupils and staff at Friends’ School.

“The new facilities will enhance the learning environment and ensure that the school is equipped to deliver the curriculum well into the future.

“The School Enhancement Programme was established to ensure that we provide the best possible school buildings for pupils and staff.

“As well as benefitting the classroom, it also provides a boost to the local construction industry.”

Concluding, Minister O’Dowd said: “Improving the schools’ estate is a key priority for me.

“I will continue to seek additional funds to ensure that this important area of works continues to get the attention it deserves.”

The Minister was welcomed to the school and the start of the construction work, by Friends’ Principal Elizabeth Dickson.

She said, “I’m delighted that the Minister is visiting Friends’ and that work on the School Enhancement Project is going ahead.

“Taken in conjunction with building work currently taking place to provide new multi-purpose teaching spaces in Middle House and alongside the investment Governors have made in the last three years to provide top class sports pitches, this project, when completed, will give us excellent facilities right across the curriculum and enable us to continue to meet the needs of our pupils in the years ahead.”