THE principal of Devenish College has said this week that “solid and steady progress” is being made towards the delivery of the school’s proposed new £21 million building.

At a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Planning Committee last week, members approved permission for an 800-pupil new build on Tempo Road, Enniskillen.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, principal Simon Mowbray said that the Education Authority and the design team had been making “solid and steady progress” towards the new build in recent years.

He said: “At times, progress has been slow and we did have a delay of around six months as we had to redesign the lower section of the school.

"However, when we are spending £21 million of public funds, it is crucial that we deliver a building that is fit for purpose and will meet the future needs of the pupils of Fermanagh.”

The principal said that the tender process had just started and the design team were finalising their construction drawings.

“That will allow the competitive tendering process to be completed by April 2018. We intend to have a contractor in place by June with construction to begin in July,” he added.

However, a Department of Education (DE) spokesperson has revealed that the department’s capital budgets for financial year 2018/19 and beyond had yet to be agreed.

“As with all announced major projects, DE will continue to prioritise the design work for this project through to the point where the project is ready to proceed to tender for construction. A decision to proceed with construction will be taken at that point (likely to be later in the financial year 18/19) based on the budget information available at that time.”