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Omagh shared education campus to cost an extra £40 million

Building work on the first phase, new accommodation for Arvalee Special School, is due to be completed this summer

CONVERTING a former military barracks into a massive shared education campus will cost almost £40 million more than first estimated.

The Strule Shared Education Campus in Omagh will involve six schools and is due to be operational by 2020.

The co-location of schools in the town is intended to increase opportunities for collaboration and sharing of facilities.

A mix of grammar, non-grammar, Catholic, state and special schools will occupy the site. Each will have their own buildings but will share other facilities.

Building work on the first phase, new accommodation for Arvalee Special School, is due to be completed this summer.

Officials from the Department of Education were quizzed about the costs yesterday during a meeting of the assembly education committee.

Initial projections, provided at the very early stages of planning, estimated that the project to convert the former barracks at Lisanelly would be about £100m.

Committee members were yesterday told the initial business case then predicted it would cost £109m, but this had since increased again.

Responding to questions by Alliance member Chris Lyttle, department official Stephen Creagh said the cost would now be closer to £140m.

The lower cost of £109m, he said, was based on early feasibility work, when the finer detail was yet to be worked out.

"The current estimate in construction costs which we now have, the £109m is more equivalent to £137m," Mr Creagh said.

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