Fresh pressure is being brought to bear on the Stormont Education Minister to fully sign off on plans for an all-new Dromore High School.
Local MLAs say that with the site bought, outline planning permission in place and discussions under way about shared school/community sports facilities, further progress awaits only John O’Dowd’s nod.
Lagan Valley assemblymen Jonathan Craig and Edwin Poots recently met education authority chief executive Gavin Boyd to discuss the planned new school.
“We held a frank and forthright meeting with Gavin Boyd to see how the plans for the new High School site in Dromore are proceeding,” they said in a joint statement. “It was encouraging to find that the purchase of the new site has been completed and that outline planning permission has been secured.
“We were further encouraged to find that preliminary discussions have been entered into with the new Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon council with regard to sports facilities and the possibilities of not only providing for the school but having facilities that can be utilised by the local community.
“We were also encouraged to hear that Dromore High School newbuild is also still top of the priority list for post-primary school projects and there was some surprise shown by all that the minister has, as yet, not announced the project to go ahead, which would allow full planning to proceed.”
The two said they would be pressing Mr O’Dowd and any future minister “to finally sign this project off and open up the full potential of what is widely recognised as one of the best schools in the province”.
DUP colleague and fellow Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale said she too had been consistently lobbying the minister to proceed with the newbuild.
“In my most recent correspondence,” she said, “I again pressed the need for the new High School and I will continue to work with the principal of Dromore High School in this campaign”.