Students at Devenish College should be sitting in their multi-million pound new school this week.

But instead the Enniskillen school is still not finished and this week both the contractor and the Education Authority (EA) declined to comment on the reason for the delay and when staff and students can expect to move in.

It is believed there have been at least five delays since the project began. Furthermore, The Impartial Reporter has learned the final costs to build the school will exceed the £21.5million that was initially budgeted.

For now, staff and students remain in the old school building at Algeo Drive.

After numerous attempts to make contact with the contractor via phone and email, The Impartial Reporter finally spoke to Cormac Murphy, owner of Glasgiven Contracts Ltd. this week.

When asked why the opening of the new-build school at the start of September had been delayed, he said: “To be honest with you, we’ve met with the EA during the week.

“We know that you have emailed us, but at the moment we are not saying anything, in line with the Department, really. It’s not really our place to speak at this time.”

This newspaper asked Mr. Murphy if his refusal to comment was on the instruction of the EA.

He replied: “No, we just agreed that, for right now, there’s a number of different reasons for anything happening, and we’re not going to start apportioning blame. We’re not making any comment in relation to it at this time.”

When asked when the school will be opened, Mr. Murphy responded: “There are a number of factors as to why the job has been delayed, and we are all working through exactly what the repercussions of that, and what it means for the school.”

He added: “There’s a number of factors as to why the job isn’t handed over.

“There’re still a few outlying issues there that are being resolved currently. We are waiting on that to be sorted before we can give any definitive dates.”

Mr. Murphy said there are “a number of different issues within our control and outside of our control at the minute and until they’re all resolved, there’s nothing that can really be said definitively as to what that handover date is”.

The Impartial Reporter also contacted the EA, asking what the original date was given for the occupation of the Devenish College new-build school, to confirm how many times the opening of the new school building has been delayed, the reasons given by the contractor for the delays, and if the contractor will be fined due to the delays.

This newspaper also asked what date will the new school building now open.

In regards to the cost of the new school building, it states on the contractor Glasgiven’s website that the initial value was £21.5million.

This newspaper understands that the original figure has increased significantly, and asked the EA to clarify how much the building has cost thus far.

A spokesperson for the EA responded: “The EA fully understands the disappointment that it has not been possible to move in to the new school building for the start of the new school term.

“EA continues to work closely with the school, as well as the externally appointed design team and contractor to ensure the new build is handed over to the specified quality as soon as reasonably possible.

“EA officers are also in close contact with school staff to ensure that the move from the old building happens with minimal disruption. Once occupied, the studenys, staff and wider community will immediately begin to enjoy the many educational, social and pastoral benefits this state-of-the-art school has to offer.”

Devenish College principal Simon Mowbray previously told this newspaper that the governors and staff of Devenish College are “extremely disappointed” that they were not able to complete their move to the Tempo Road new-build “on the dates agreed and stipulated by the contractor”.

When asked this week if the school would like to comment on the continued delay, he said: “The school have no further comment to make at this stage.”