It was a tough 30-year battle, but finally St Teresa’s Primary School’s new building has been officially opened.
And it is a testament to the hard work and persistence of school principal Anne Doran and her team that a superb, state-of-the-art building is now up and running.
Officially opened by Education Minister John O’Dowd, the new seven class school cost almost £4m and will mean the popular school on the outskirts of Lurgan will enjoy the latest technology and comfortable spaces to help educate the pupils.
Mrs Doran told a packed school hall: “After nearly thirty years of back and forth, hopes, promises, pauses, and hiccups, finally we can say that St Teresa’s Primary School has a new build and, more importantly, a building worthy of the children of this community, and the high quality teaching and learning that goes on under this roof … and now I can say this – it is only one roof, not one roof and six mobile roofs, many of which leaked!
“The building we are gathered in is state of the art – from the microphone system in the Halftown, to the Clever Touch technology available in all classrooms, and the spacious, airy, bright rooms and corridors.”
She paid tribute to the architect Martin O’Kane ‘for his vision and persistence with 14 years service to this project and his sensitivity to our school’s history and ethos resulting in a design personalised to St Teresa’s’.
My thanks to everyone who has played their part as a team member in St Teresa’s communityAnne Doran, principal
She also praised the contractor, William Smith of Glasgiven, for his ‘understanding, patience and listening ear’ as well as Kevin Dougan – the site foreman and David Losty, the project manager.
Mrs Doran also paid tribute to Education Minister, John O’Dowd, and department officials for making the announcement of the funding in 2012.
“When a school is built – some might say that’s the work really started! We had to move from the old school into the new one, and requisition our new resources. I never thought it would be so hard to spend money. These tasks could not have been completed without the advice and assistance from Avril, Linda, and Mairead from the Education Authority. Our colleagues in C2k and Capita completed the move from the old build to the decant, and from the decant to the new build seamlessly.
“My thanks to everyone who has played their part as a team member in St Teresa’s community. The dedication and support of the governors, past and present, and to Sarah, our Vice Principal who I can truly call “my right hand woman” - and everyone needs one of those.
Minister O’Dowd said: “It is a pleasure to return to St Teresa’s to join in the celebrations of your new school.
“A school has been a part of this area of Lurgan since 1960 and I am pleased that school life will continue here well into the future.
“A new school brings tangible change to the daily life of pupils, teachers and the wider community. Here at St Teresa’s a new chapter begins with your brand new state of the art school, which will enhance the learning for this generation and future generations.
“Many people have contributed to get us to this point today and I want to pay tribute to you all. From planning through to design and construction and, finally today, the official opening, a lot of patience and forbearance was needed. Today represents a successful conclusion and a fitting celebration for all the hard work over the years. I wish you all well for your future learning.”
Kevin Devine, Chairperson of the Board of Governors said:
“It has taken a long time to get to this point but can I say on behalf of my fellow governors; past, present and deceased, it has been worth the wait. St Teresa’s is now most definitely a school for the 21st century that incorporates the highest specifications right across the school.
Praising those who had supported the school, Mr Devine added:
“While they provided the support and realisation of the dream one person had the vision to put the ‘icing on the cake’ as it were and that is our principal, Mrs Doran. From attending site meetings, organising two decants within a year, to effectively becoming an interior designer, she worked tirelessly to produce what we see here today. She imbued the school’s motto of ‘doing ordinary things extraordinarily well’ with the final goal being to have what was best for the pupils of St Teresa’s.”