Proposed Masterplan Launched for £100m Educational Campus

The Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus (LSEC) has reached another milestone in its evolution today with the public launch of the proposed masterplan for the landmark £100million schools development.

The masterplan was unveiled at an event in the South Western College in Omagh by the Joint Chairmen of the LSEC Working Group, Rev Robert Herron and Monsignor Joseph Donnelly, and the Minister for Education, Caitriona Ruane MLA. They were joined by local elected politicians, representatives from local post-primary and primary schools, the Department of Education, Western Education and Library Board, Omagh District Council, the local business community and members of the appointed Project Team.

The publication of the proposed masterplan marks the beginning of the second of three public consultation events for the project prior to its submission to Planning Service in early 2011.

To mark the event Monsignor Joseph Donnelly and Reverend Robert Herron said in a joint statement,

“The scale of the opportunity that awaits future generations of school children in Omagh through this project is now becoming clear through this draft masterplan. It is tremendously exciting. We know that there is an urgent need to renew much of the schools estate in the Omagh area. What we can now see clearly is that by co-locating many of the schools on the Lisanelly site, we can not only provide state of the art core schools which retain their identity and ethos but in addition we can also deliver world-class shared facilities that would not be deliverable to pupils if each school was to stand alone.

“The design team has worked extremely hard over the past five months with a wide range of stakeholders including pupils, teachers, school governors and trustees, educationalists, members of the local business community and elected representatives to produce this proposed masterplan. The team is applying not just 21st century design principles but good old fashioned common sense by strategically planning how resources can best be used to help every pupil at the proposed campus have access to the highest possible standards of education facilities in the future.”

They concluded, “There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead, in particular with regard to accessing capital finance for the project. We will continue to actively work on this to secure the necessary finance, but for now we ask the people of the wider Omagh area, young and old, to go and view the proposals and give us your considered feedback before the plans are finalised and submitted to Planning Service in 2011. If you want to input your views into the design or any particular aspect of the scheme, now is the time to do so.”

Adding to the sentiments expressed by Rev. Herron and Monsignor Donnelly, the Programme Director Hazel Jones said,

“All of us on the team are delighted to have reached this milestone in the project. We have been very encouraged by the feedback we have received to date and some of the key findings from it have helped shape the masterplan.

“Each participating school will have its own site, retain its own ethos and identity but crucially in addition to its core facilities, pupils will have access to state of the art shared facilities on the site. These will take the form of a School of Performance, School of Making and an Ecology Field Centre. A School of Activity will provide numerous different types of playing fields and surfaces including a 3rd generation pitch with its own stadium style spectator facilities.”

Encouraging local people to give their feedback to the Project Team Education Minister Caitriona Ruane MLA added,

“This is a tremendous opportunity for children in Omagh and their families and for their teachers. On behalf of everyone involved in the Project I would ask that people come along and view the proposals, let the Working Group and Project team have their feedback so that they can make the project even better. So I urge people to come along to the public consultation exhibition or view the proposals online at the project website www.omaghlisanellycampus.org.”

The Public Information and Exhibition display will be open to the members of the public to view – from Friday 26th November until Friday 17th December at the Omagh Community House.

A final public consultation event is proposed for Spring 2011 at which the final masterplan will be placed on display for comment prior to its submission to Planning Service.