PLANS for a replacement school at Dunclug College were approved today at Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee.
The plans involve a replacement of the current school buildings.
Earlier this year ‘Ballymena Daily’ reported how the new school has been in the planning ever since the Area Planning process in the Ballymena area some six years ago, when Dunclug College was given opportunity to grow to its current capacity of 840 pupils plus pupils with statements of educational need – almost 900 in total.
Principal Ruth Wilson told ‘Ballymena Daily’ a number of months ago: “While the journey has been long, and at times winding, to get to this point, we are delighted to see our plans being formally submitted and trust that our pupils and parents and indeed the whole community will share our enthusiasm and delight as we anticipate completion of the new building in 2022, attractively positioned on our current site. The layout and plans are on display in the School Entrance Hall.
“The new building will sit at the top of the site, adjacent to the Cushendall Road, and will be an attractive, modern, state-of-the-art facility which will see us well-equipped to prepare our students for many different future pathways.
“The existing school will have the privilege of continuing calmly in our current buildings, with all the pastoral and curricular stability which that provides, during the period of construction.
“When it is possible to decant into the new building, work will continue to demolish the existing building, making way for extensive playing fields and sporting provision, which it will be our privilege to share with the whole community.
“We are pleased that, in the meantime, we are well-equipped to continue to grow the quality of education, thanks to the recent addition of some modular buildings, allowing us to develop our Sixth Form Centre, a range of new Double Award courses at A Level, additional opportunities at GCSE, and the Learning Support Centre.
“We continue to promote well-being in an environment of pastoral security and safety, and to cater creatively for a range of needs including challenges in Numeracy, Literacy and emotional needs.
“This includes the addition of a facility to cater for Autism and Moderate Learning Difficulties, while allowing integration and access to the full educational entitlement.
“We are very conscious that a school is so much more than a building – and so our focus is on continuing to build the best possible education for our pupils.
“Yet, it will be a joy to have the provision the children and their teachers so richly deserve going forward into the future.
“This marks exciting times for Dunclug College, and we take opportunity to thanks our friends in Ballymena and the surrounding district for all their support and encouragement.”