Minister cuts sod on £3.9m school build

Education Minister John O’Dowd visited Millington Primary School on Wednesday where he cut the sod to mark the official launch of a £3.9 million extension and refurbishment.

The project, which got under way in November, will provide a new block of 12 classrooms, refurbishment of the existing accommodation and a new play area.

Education Minister John O'Dowd with Millington PS principal Mrs Heather Murray and pupils Filip Traczykowski and Amy McCombe. INPT04-202.

Education Minister John O'Dowd with Millington PS principal Mrs Heather Murray and pupils Filip Traczykowski and Amy McCombe. INPT04-202.

It is due to be completed by May next year.

A new hall had been included in the original plans, but was not possible due to funding restraints.

It is also hoped that a new traffic layout will help to alleviate parking difficulties at the school which have been causing severe congestion disruption for parents and residents, as well as raising safety fears.

Principal Heather Murray said, “The work will include a new traffic system, which will take the traffic off the street and allow parents to drive into the school grounds and drop off children in a one-way system.

“There will also be new turning access at the back entrance to the school. At the moment, it is pedestrian access only.”

In the meantime, it is hoped that some temporary measures can be taken to alleviate the problem.

Mrs Murray, along with DUP politicians Darryn Causby and Sydney Anderson, who have been contacted by concerned residents and parents, were due to meet an Education Authority representative yesterday (Thursday) to discuss the situation.

Councillor Causby said he intended to raise the issue of two neighbouring plots of land which could be converted into parking spaces.

During Wednesday’s visit, Mr O’Dowd met with staff and pupils and was presented with a card and a Millington PS paper weight and teddy bear.