Work starts on 3G pitch at Banbridge High School

(L-R) Adam Johnson (Sport NI); Lord Mayor Alderman Margaret Tinsley; Katy Feeney (Principal, Banbridge HS); John Donnelly (Education Authority).

Work has commenced at Banbridge High School on a new £1.8m 3G sports pitch for students and the local community.

The project includes a full size 3G synthetic pitch complete with floodlighting, fencing and a changing pavilion, which will be operated on a dual use basis with Banbridge High School during the day and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council managing the facility for community use.

The project is funded through £1.6m investment from ABC Council and Department for Communities is the lead partner on the ‘Your School Your Club’ initiative, with funding of £225,000 distributed through Sport NI.

Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley said: “This is an exciting time for Banbridge High School and everyone in the local area. These much-needed sports facilities will go a long way to support local clubs, teams and those looking to be more active. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone involved in making this project possible and I look forward to seeing the facility being embraced and enjoyed by all in our community.”

A spokesperson for the Education Authority (EA) said: “We are delighted to partner with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and Sport NI through their ‘Your School Your Club’ programme at Banbridge High School. This partnership investment will enable the construction of a 3G, floodlit pitch with changing provision on the existing school site. Once completed the students from Banbridge High School and its wider community partners will benefit greatly from this state-of-the-art facility. We look forward to its completion with great anticipation.”

Richard Archibald, Interim CEO of Sport NI said: “The ‘Your School Your Club’ project aims to maximise resources and bring people together through the power of sport. This investment enables schools to improve their facilities for young people but also benefits local sports clubs and organisations in providing a place to participate in sport.

“We are delighted to have worked in partnership with others to improve sporting opportunities at Banbridge High School and strengthen important connections between the school and its local community.”

Principal of Banbridge High School, Mrs Katy Feeney, spoke of her delight at the exciting development for the school: “Banbridge High School is at the heart of the local community. The 3G pitch will not only allow for an extension of our sporting provision, providing students with a state-of-the-art surface to participate in PE lessons, but it will also bring the community to the school grounds in the evenings and at the weekends.

“Sport brings people together and this is a fantastic opportunity to enrich our students experience at school and provide a fantastic facility for the community. The ABC Council, the Education Authority, Sport NI as well as school stakeholders have worked tremendously hard to facilitate the approval of the 3G pitch and secure the funding to make this a reality. We look forward to observing the progress over the coming months until the pitch is finally ready to use.”

The 3G pitch and pavilion have been designed by AECOM with work undertaken by Haffey Sports Grounds Ltd. The project is expected to be completed by December 2024.