Plans for a new multi-million pound school in Crossmaglen have taken another huge step forward as the development went out to tender today (Thursday).
The school – at an estimated cost of £14.4 million – will replace the existing St Joseph’s High School, which opened in 1964.
Interested parties now have until March 27 to tender for the contract.
The state-of-the-art new-build school will be to accommodate 600 pupils.
It is expected that a contractor will be appointed before the end of the summer.
It is also intended that work will get underway this October and should take in the region of two years to complete, with eyes set on the school being ‘open for business’ for the start of the new school term in 2019.
The St Joseph’s High School project was one of 16 new-builds classified as ‘high priority’ and announced by former Education Minister John O’Dowd in June 2014.
The £170 million package was for those facilities considered to be in ‘dire need’ of upgrading or replacing.
But by the start of the 2016/17 school year, work had only begun on one and questions were being asked about when the others would get underway.
The Crossmaglen school should now therefore begin this year with a ‘pre-construction’ stage.
Plans were submitted to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for consideration in October past.
Today the Trustees of St Joseph’s have invited applications from “suitably experienced contractors who wish to be considered for inclusion in a shortlist of main contractors from which tenders will be sought for the construction of St Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen”.
The work will include the “provision of a replacement secondary school and associated external works on the existing St Joseph’s High School site”.
The pre-qualification process – which includes minimum standard requirements – are available by email from firstname.lastname@example.org and marking the subject line’St Joseph’s High School PQQP Request’.
The deadline is 3pm on March 27, and documents must be returned to the quantity surveyor, Edmond Shipway, with an address at Portview House, 80 Dargan Road, Belfast, BT3 9JU.