It was announced during Enniskillen Royal Grammar School’s prizegiving celebrations on Tuesday night (December 3) that plans are underway for the new school build, with a scheduled date of completion by June 2024.

Peter Little, Chairman of the school’s Board of Governors, stated that they are currently in possession of a project planning document which details the various stages of the entire building project right through to completion.

He said: “While I can say with almost 100 per cent certainty there will inevitably be slippage, at least we now have a nominal handover date for a completed new school building of June 2024. At last some progress and something to look forward to.”

Mr. Little noted how during last year’s prizegiving he was very critical of the administrative procedures of the Department of Education and of the functioning of the relatively new Education Authority.

“I was so frustrated at the lack of any visible progress towards the much needed new build of our school. I still consider my criticism and frustration to be wholly justified and while I would not yet say that I can see light at the end of a tunnel, I am somewhat pleased to report that now I feel I can at least see a tunnel and believe that a positive direction of travel has been initiated,” he commented.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Mr. Little confirmed that the new Enniskillen Royal Grammar School will be built on the school’s Lough Shore site, formerly Portora Royal School.

“The old building will stay, the iconic front of the school and more or less everything behind the old building will be taken away and the new school will be built in that space just immediately behind. We hope to have the old building integrated in,” he explained, adding: “We’ll be up on the historic Portora hill and the new 900-pupil school will be built there, removing all the newer structures, the 1960s building and other structures that have appeared since.”

As planning of the new school gets underway, Mr. Little commented that in the meantime, he has “every confidence” that they will continue to successfully “manage the challenges of operating on two separated campuses and within the restrictions imposed by a severely constrained financial budget”.

“New buildings are nice and to be established on one consolidated site would be wonderful, they do not of themselves make a successful school, that is up to the community that is Enniskillen Royal Grammar School. I have every confidence in our continuing success and our pursuit of excellence,” Mr. Little concluded.