Work began today (Tuesday) on the new £4.7 million Cawdor Primary School. Councillor Laurie Fraser was joined by pupils Sophie Forbes and Cameron Duncan from Primary 1, and Alex Ankers and Charlotte Mackintosh from Primary 5 in cutting the first turfs at the new school site in the village. Also present were long serving teachers, Miss Carol Benisch, Primary 5/6 teacher who has 35 years service, and Mrs Judy Marsden, Primary 2/3 teacher who has 27 years service.
The new school will feature six primary classrooms; a resource/library area; high ICT network specification throughout, with broadband connection; a pupil support room; nursery room including quiet room; protected nursery play area; multi purpose hall; general purpose/dining room (separate from Hall); cloakrooms toilets and showers; hard play area and grass pitch; cycle compound, car parking and drop off.
In addition, there are dedicated community spaces – a community room plus kitchen, playgroup room and meeting room. The hall, with extra storage, is also larger than normal for community use in evenings and weekends, and non school days.
Fiona Lewthwaite, head teacher of the 127-pupil school, said: “Cawdor Primary School is a well loved place as we discovered during our 150th Birthday celebrations in August, last year. We are now looking forward to taking this special community to the new purpose built school. It will certainly enhance learning and teaching at Cawdor and give us facilities until now we have only dreamed of. It's quite magical to finally see the new school start to be built. A very exciting time for us all.”
Councillor Fraser said: “I am delighted that Cawdor is going to have a primary school which provides the very best learning environment for our pupils and our first class staff. Foremost in our minds in planning the new school was to fully incorporate community facilities, which will make the school the hub of this vibrant new community.”
Councillor Andy Anderson, Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, He said: “The existing school at Cawdor has served the community well over the years but it is time to provide staff, pupils and the wider community with the most modern surroundings.”
Cawdor Primary School is one of 11 schools being built in a second education PPP scheme, valued at £134 million. New secondary schools are being built at Dingwall Academy, Kinlochleven High School, Portree High School and Millburn Academy, Inverness. Also in the programme is the construction of a new school at Inshes, Inverness; a school for pupils with additional support needs in Inverness; a new purpose built primary school for Gaelic pupils at Inverness, as well as new primary schools at Kinlochleven, Resolis (Cullicudden and Newhall amalgamation) and Culbokie.
The 11 schools are being built by Alpha Schools (Highland) Ltd, a consortium of Morrison PLC and Noble Fund Managers.
Cawdor is being built by Tulloch Construction under a sub contract arrangement. Tulloch, who have experience in school PPP projects in Edinburgh, Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, is also building replacement primary and secondary schools at Kinlochleven, Culbokie and Resolis.