Stormont Education Minister John O’Dowd is in line for his second petition out of Dromore as campaigners ramp up the pressure for an all-new high school.
Last week’s news that Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, had approved funding to buy the new Dromore High site at Banbridge Road, spurred fresh moves to secure the £15m or so needed to build the school itself.
With minister O’Dowd already reportedly in receipt of a petition - due to have been presented at Stormont last week - calling for 28 classrooms, as originally proposed, in the new, 25-classroom Dromore primary school under construction, campaigners, among them Lagan Valley MLAs Jonathan Craig and Edwin Poots, have raised another in respect of the high school.
“Working closely with Dromore High School we have launched a petition calling on the Education Minister to make available the £15million for the new school to be built,” said the two in a joint statement.
“With the recent announcement of funding for the acquisition of the new school site on the Banbridge Road, we believe it is time to intensify our efforts and we are asking everyone to get behind this campaign and sign the petition.
“The case for the new school is an indisputable one; it has many more pupils than it was originally designed for with a multiplicity of mobile buildings and real constraints on its recreational space as a consequence.”
The two men said excellent outcomes delivered by the school were attributable to the quality of teaching, the spirit of friendship and ethos of the school and certainly not the the quality of existing buildings.
“With the addition of post-16 education at Dromore the need for a new building is greater than ever,” they added.
“With outline planning permission now in place and funding for the purchase of the new site approved, the long awaited new Dromore High School has taken a major step forward.”
The pair said progress would not have been possible but for the “huge” amount of work carried out by the School. “We would like to publicly thank the principal and the Board of Governors of Dromore High for the excellent campaign they have fought” they said.
The newly launched petition can be signed at Dromore High School, the Maxol/Mace shop at Hillsborough Road, Grahams Newsagent at Market Square and Harvey’s Spar Shop, Meeting Street.