Pupils of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School could move to the Devenish College school building on the Derrychara site when Devenish College staff and pupils move to their new building following its completion.

The Board of Governors of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School have confirmed that the “feasibility” of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School “temporarily decanting” to the Devenish site while their new build on Portora hill is in progress is being “actively considered.”

A spokesman on behalf of the school’s Board of Governors added: “The Board of Governors of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School are delighted to hear that the long overdue construction of the new school for Devenish College is due to commence shortly.”

Following a report in last week’s Impartial Reporter, which revealed that the construction of the Devenish College new build will begin this April, Mr. Mowbray shared more details of the new school building and its “continual progress.”

When asked what starting the construction stage means to the school community, which comes almost 15 years after the Tempo Road site was initially purchased by the Western Education and Library Board, Mr. Mowbray said: “It’s fantastic. I was appointed as principal of the school in September 2015 and was aware obviously of the long history and the wait for the new build but the following month, in October 2015 a design team was appointed to design and ultimately build the new school.”

“I have to say, over the last two and a half to three years there has been continual progress,” he added.

Explaining the progress from the design stage to the current tendering process for the school’s construction, Mr. Mowbray said: “It started off in those stages as basic sketches and we had to make sure that the layout of the classrooms and so on were where we wanted them to be, and over time that has evolved in to the final finished model of the school and now that has gone out to tender so it’s fantastic.”

He added: “I just can’t wait now to see diggers and builders and contractors on site to get the actual building process started.”

Describing the new build as “very modern,” Mr. Mowbray commented on its “thoughtful design.” He said: “It’s very well laid out in terms of adjacencies of the various different departments, for example the maths, ICT, technology and design and the science departments are very closely linked together.”

He added: “There is a lot of glass within the structure which is fantastic for natural light but also for heating and ventilation as well.”

Using Building Information Modelling (BIM), the design team Isherwood and Ellis have developed a virtual reality version of the new Devenish College building. “I was able to put on the virtual reality goggles and actually went through the school and through each of the classrooms and each of the teaching areas within the school,” said Mr. Mowbray. “It actually feels like I have been in the school even before they’ve started building it,” he added.

When asked about a proposed timescale, Mr. Mowbray said: “It is out to tender at the minute and that is due to close in mid-February. The timescale as laid out now by the Education Authority and approved by the Department of Education is to move onsite in April and then they have pencilled in a 24month contract period.”

He continued: “That would take us up to the summer of 2021 and then should allow us time to move into the school in late June, in ready for an intake in September 2021.”