Green light for new £15 million high school in Crossmaglen.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

PLANS for a £15million investment for St Joseph's High School in Crossmaglen have been approved by planners.

The proposal for a replacement school, with sports facilities, open space and play areas were approved last Wednesday (April 11).

And speaking to the Gazette's sister paper, the Newry Democrat, school principal John Jones, expressed the joy felt at the news, and told us a little more about the project.

"We're absolutely over the moon, absolutely delighted, really and truly," said Mr Jones.

"The school is 54-years-old, it is in great need of modernisation. And I've always maintained that the children of south Armagh deserve the same facilities as people throughout other parts of Northern Ireland.

"We're going to have state of the art classrooms, and we're going to have all the most modern up to date technology in them.

"There's going to be drama facilities, there's going to be music facilities - which we don't have.

"We're also going to have fitness suites, and we're going to have a 3D pitch." Mr Jones, who is retiring on August 31, is confident that the new facilities will benefit, not just the school, but the entire community.

"It'll be great for the town of Crossmaglen," insisted Mr Jones.

"We're hoping that there's going to be that community connection. We see ourselves as a family, community school. That's in our ethos." Mr Jones is also hoping that the new set-up will allow the school to expand.

"We are full to capacity, but we want to grow - particularly at post-16," he said.

"And we're hoping that the new school will just be the icing on the cake for us, because last year, our GCSE and A Level results put us in the top 20 in Northern Ireland for non-selective schools.

"From year eight upwards, we'd like our numbers to grow.

The new building and the facilities - it's for the children of ultimately." Mr Jones also thanked Ms Megan Fearon MLA for her help regarding the project, and also acknowledged the support of the former Minister of Education, Mr John O'Dowd MLA.

Ms Fearon congratulated all those involved with bringing the vision of the new facility to this stage.

"Well done all who worked over the years to bring the vision of the new school facility to this stage," she said.

"Sinn Féin has consistently supported St Joseph's Crossmaglen in their bid for a new school."

"The project has been a key priority of mine since I entered the Assembly in 2012 and local councillor Terry Hearty has for many years passionately pursued the project."


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