£43m investment in Cookstown's Loughry College

Loughry College on the outskirts of Cookstown will undergo a £43m refurbishment programme which will include new modern student accommodation and high-tech facilities to support student learning.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 2:44 pm

The invesment, totalling £75m, includes similar work at the Greenmount campus and will underpin future sustainable growth of the Northern Ireland agri-food industry.

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots announced details of the investment today.

He said: “CAFRE has a well renowned reputation within the agri-food industry for providing excellent tuition and training facilities for the next generation of farmers, growers and agri-food personnel.

Minister Poots is pictured with CAFRE Director Martin McKendry at Greenmount Campus, Co.Antrim, where the Minsiter announced a £75million investment plan to refurbish both Greenmount Campus and Loughry College, Cookstown.
Minister Poots is pictured with CAFRE Director Martin McKendry at Greenmount Campus, Co.Antrim, where the Minsiter announced a £75million investment plan to refurbish both Greenmount Campus and Loughry College, Cookstown.

“The buildings at the heart of Loughry and Greenmount Campuses, where students live, study and socialise, were built over 50 years ago.

"It is therefore fitting that my Department is making this investment in the Centenary year of Northern Ireland. Our agri-food sector has faced many challenges over the past century and has grown to develop a global reputation for high quality food and traceability.

"It is now time to invest in each campus to provide modern, well-designed facilities which will meet the needs of students, staff and industry during the next century.

“This investment complements the recent launch of the BSc (Hons) Degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture and the Higher Level Apprenticeships in Food and will ensure that CAFRE remains at the forefront of agri-food education across these islands.The plans for Loughry will also include a Science Centre which will be shared with food research staff in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). These top class facilities will be the centre of knowledge and innovation for the industry leaders and decision-makers of the future.

“CAFRE is well placed to deliver education, knowledge transfer and innovation programmes which will assist in the delivery of my Green Growth initiative. I also welcome the fact that the design and construction of the new buildings will be environmentally sustainable, enhancing the well-being of all who use, live and work in them."

Martin McKendry, College Director said: “Modern, well-designed facilities at Greenmount and Loughry Campuses are strategically important for recruitment onto our wide portfolio of courses. Planning for these projects has already commenced and construction will begin in late 2022/early 2023. The building work will have a phased approach to minimise disruption to the delivery of our programmes and we have a target completion date of 2028. I look forward to seeing the impact of this work as each stage of the project is completed.”

Welcoming the investment DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said: This investment of £43m will improve facilities in Loughry and include a Science Centre which will be shared with food research staff in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

"These top class facilities will be the centre of knowledge and innovation for the industry leaders and decision-makers of the future.

"The facilities will also undergo a significant refurbishment programme which will include new modern student accommodation and high- tech facilities to support student learning and enable CAFÉ Colleges to continue to deliver for students for many.”

--

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.