A new extension paying tribute to one of the town’s most famous citizens has been officially opened at Ballymoney High School.
The Holmes Wing was named after the former Mayor of Ballymoney, Mollie Holmes, who had over 30 years of service as governor and chairperson of the school. Mrs Holmes died at the age of 101 in January 2016.
Chief guest at the unveiling ceremony was Department of Education Permanent Secretary Derek Baker, who said: “The investment of over £3.8million in new and improved facilities at Ballymoney High School will have a positive impact on pupils, teachers and school staff now and for generations to come.”
A competition to name the new building was held amongst the form classes. Desmond Fulton, current board of governors chairperson, judged it and the Holmes Wing was chosen as the winning entry.
Mr Fulton said: “I’m sure Mollie Holmes would be delighted today to see the opening of the new wing for the betterment of the school which she loved and served for many, many years.”
Principal Mrs Cynthia Currie said: “This is a very important day in the history of our school. We are pleased that the efforts of governors past and present and key friends of the school in lobbying the case for new facilities at Ballymoney High have at last borne fruit.
“This new extension is a fantastic boost to supporting our young people giving them the resources and accommodation they deserve. The state of the art facilities will enable the school to build even further on our current provision, continuing to provide high quality learning experiences for all in the school community.”
Funded under the under the School Enhancement Programme (SEP), the project houses specialist accommodation for Home Economics and ICT in addition to eight general classrooms. Construction started in March 2015 and was completed in December 2016.
Gavin Boyd, Education Authority chief executive, said: “One of the Education Authority’s key priorities is to ensure a fit for purpose, modern and sustainable schools’ estate which will help raise standards and close the attainment gap.
“The new Holmes Wing will undoubtedly contribute to this goal, ensuring that current and future pupils have access to a wide range of choices which allow them to meet their individual talents and maximise the chances to reach their potential.”
The official opening was attended by pupils, parents, staff and guests from the wider education community in Ballymoney. James Holmes, son of Mollie, represented the Holmes family.