Despite being caught by surprise by the announcement by Peter Weir, Education Minister, the principal of Holy Trinity Primary School has described the decision to be included in Major Capital Works Programme as “incredible news” for the school.

Nine schools were chosen to advance in design under the programme and will benefit from an estimated capital investment of £156 million.

Although he does not know the exact details of the scheme, principal, Brian Treacy, says the money will be used to build a new school on one site to replace the two sites which currently house the almost 700 pupils.

“I was kind of caught on the hop with this,” explained Mr. Treacy.

“I was in a meeting this morning with senior leadership team and we were planning about hand sanitising and rotas and staggered drop off times for children coming back in August and I came down to open my emails and the letter was there from Peter Weir to say we were on the capital list with nine other schools.

“It is incredible news.

“The school amalgamated almost 20 years ago, and I suppose since then we have been looking for a new build on one site.”

Mr. Treacy paid tribute to those who had the vision of one school all those years ago and have worked so hard for it to become a reality from Monsignor Cahill, previous Boards of Governors, teachers, and parents.

“They have done a lot of work behind the scenes to get to where we are today, including the current Chairman and governors they have done a brilliant job in terms of leading the project forward.

“It’s wonderful news for the children in particular and it is fantastic news for the staff who have worked so hard across the two sites to keep this school community going and make it one school even though it is on two sites and it is very much part of the community and fabric of Enniskillen.”

Mr. Treacy says the aim is now to identify a site that would be big enough to hold a school of that size and while there are no details as yet of what Holy Trinity will receive from the programme, it is still a massive boost for the entire school community.

“It’s been a long time coming but worth the wait.

“There are staff still here from when the two schools (St. Michael’s and St. Teresa’s) amalgamated and for them it is a wonderful day.

“And likewise, for previous principals who have carried it on over the years and who have done a lot of work to get to this,” added Mr. Treacy.

Speaking in the Assembly on Tuesday, Minister Weir said improving the schools’ estate was one of his priorities.

“I hope this latest announcement regarding major capital investment will send a strong signal to the local construction industry and local communities that the Department of Education is planning for the future and is committed to supporting the local economy and the wider community through the delivery of our capital programme.

“My Department’s capital programme aims to ensure that all our young people are educated in school facilities which are safe, secure and fit-for-purpose, enabling them to receive the quality education experience required to help them to fulfil their potential.

“This announcement today represents another strand of the overall capital programme and follows my announcement in May of funding of a further sixteen projects under the School Enhancement Programme,” the Education Minister concluded.