Governors, staff and students at Hazelwood Integrated College were delighted to officially open their new mobile classroom unit on the Cedar Lodge site.
The gates to the accommodation were locked for several weeks at the start of term after a row erupted between the college and the Belfast Education and Library Board over the use of the land. However, issues surrounding the lease of the site have since been resolved and staff and pupils celebrated the official opening of the new facility last week.
The new unit, constructed to accomodate growing pupil numbers at the Whitewell Road school, comprises a sixth form centre, careers suite and library, and an alternative education centre. It will also house a number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
Speaking at the official opening, principal Kathleen Gormley said: “I am delighted that a resolution has been reached. However, as principal, it is not my wish for any child to be in temporary accommodation and I would like to see this project followed up by a formal build.”
Funding for the project was raised privately by Hazelwood College, with the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Belfast Trust for Integrated Education (BELTIE) each donating £75,000.
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan, Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee at Stormont, welcomed the unveiling of the new classroom facilities, saying: “I hope the Board learn from this, that never again should procedure come before pupils.
“The up side to the whole thing is that the school, having won their battle, is really healthy and buzzing.”