The Belfast Education and Library Board and AmeyFMP today began a new era for schools in the city with the signing of a major strategic partnering agreement.
The contract is an integral part of the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland which sets out a long-term view of planned investment, approaching £20bn, over the next decade to improve the schools, roads, water, waste, health and office infrastructure. The AmeyFMP consortium, led by support services provider Amey, includes three leading Northern Ireland construction companies (Farrans, H&J Martin, Patton Construction) and three leading local architectural firms.
The initiative will see the launch of a new long term partnership to refurbish or rebuild many of the schools, libraries and youth clubs in Belfast that are currently managed by BELB, to a value of up to £400 million. The first phase of the Strategic Partnership will deliver modern accommodation and facilities management services, provided by Amey, for four post primary schools, one primary school and two nursery schools, said BELB Chief Executive David Cargo.
The new schools will also provide new facilities for the wider community, for learning and community use both during and beyond the school day. Open days and evenings will be held at the schools to give staff, parents, students and local residents the opportunity to find out more about the designs. The post-primary schools are Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast Boys Model School, Belfast Model Schools for Girls and Ashfield Girls School, the primary school is Orangefield Primary School and the two nursery schools are Ravenscroft Nursery School and Glendhu Nursery School. Jim Rodgers, Chairperson of the BELB, said the strategic partnering agreement will play a major part in the regeneration of Belfast. This partnership will contribute immensely not just to the education received by the children in this city but to the wider community in terms of much needed jobs and facilities, especially in the east and north of the city, said Mr Rodgers.
We have always endeavoured to provide, not only the very best education, but best facilities for every child in the City of Belfast. There will be seven new schools being built in Belfast at the same time, and as we look forward to the completion of this project I have no doubt that the children, parents and staff will be delighted with the quality of these fantastic new centres of learning. Strategic Investment Board Limited (SIB) have worked with BELB and AmeyFMP to help reach this stage. SIB Chief Executive, David Gavaghan, added that this partnership represents the largest education accommodation programme in Northern Ireland and emphasised the long-term benefits.
Securing a long term relationship offers good value for money and enables a flexible approach as circumstances change over time. It also provides opportunities for our major contractors and will create a lasting and vibrant skills set, he said. Most importantly by inspiring our young people within a sustainable learning environment that we all can be proud of, then together we stand a better chance of maximising their potential, keeping them in Northern Ireland where they will contribute towards our economic and social well-being.
Commenting on behalf of the AmeyFMP consortium, Mel Ewell, Chief Executive of Amey, added: Providing the right environment plays a crucial role in delivering quality education and encouraging lifelong learning amongst the wider community. To achieve this, bringing together the best mix of expertise is vital, and we are confident this partnership accomplishes this goal. We are looking forward to making a real difference to the local community here in Belfast.