Work began today (Wednesday) on an eagerly awaited £10.5 million new school at Kinlochleven which will accommodate the primary school and high school.
Local Highland Councillor Drew McFarlane Slack was joined by Kenneth Michie and Branwen Wilson of Kinlochleven High School and Aidan Symmers and Mhairi McDade representing Kinlochleven Primary School in cutting the first turfs on the site of the replacement building.
Christopher Millar-Craig Acting Head Teacher of the 129-pupil Kinlochleven High School and Cherryl Allan Head Teacher of the 69-pupil Kinlochleven Primary School were also in attendance.
The new school, which will be the first joint primary and secondary school built in Highland, is scheduled to be completed and open by start of session in August 2008, with the playing fields ready by September 2009.
The new secondary school provision will feature: general classrooms; a joint (with the Primary school) integrated special unit for pupils with additional support needs, pupil support provision; and specialist classrooms for:
• art and design room with kiln, and storage;
• business and ICT, with storage;
• home economics kitchen along with food store and other storage;
• music with practice rooms and instrument storage;
• science laboratories, a greenhouse, technician workroom and storage;
• craft and design workshop, preparation area, graphic communication room and storage
For physical education at the secondary school, a community facility will provide a games hall, with the school providing a fitness room to augment the existing facility, changing areas, staff base, storage, and an all-weather pitch and grass pitch.
Library provision will be included for both public and school usage with open and distance learning facilities including video conferencing, office and storage space.
A performance venue will cater for approximately 180 people with a projection room and storage. There will also be a joint dining area and kitchen; meeting and interview room; head teacher’s and deputy’s offices; school office and storage; a medical suite; pupil cloakrooms with toilets, showers and social areas; staffroom with cloakroom and toilets; janitor and cleaner stores; a drop off area for cars and buses; car parking; a
secure cycle compound; and flagpole.
The new primary school provision will feature:
• five classrooms (including Gaelic Medium);
• a resource / library area;
• nursery room including quiet room and a protected outdoor nursery play area;
• central and in-class storage;
• a multi purpose hall with storage;
• Head teacher’s office, school office and storage;
• A medical room;
• Pupil and staff cloakrooms with toilets and showers
• Janitor and cleaner stores;
Outdoor facilities will include a hard play area; grass pitch and other play areas; a drop off for cars and buses; car parking; and secure cycle compound.
Local Councillor Drew McFarlane Slack said: “This development reflects the success of the Kinlochleven regeneration project over the last ten years. The Highland Council in partnership with HIE Lochaber and the community can be proud and satisfied that this development underpins the growing confidence in south Lochaber.”
Highland Council’s Vice Convener, Councillor Michael Foxley said: “The Highland Council has made a major investment in Lochaber over recent years with the building of Mallaig and Ardnamurchan High Schools and Spean Bridge Primary School.
“The Council will continue its commitment into education in the area through a major refurbishment of Lochaber High School, the replacement of Acharacle Primary School, the planned replacement of Lochaline Primary school, and the building of a hostel for school pupils in Mallaig. We are identifying sites and then will start a design brief for new schools for Fort William and Caol/Banavie.”
In the PPP2 Initiative, new secondary schools are being built at Dingwall Academy, Millburn Academy and Portree High School. Also in the programme is the construction of a new school for pupils with additional support needs in Inverness; the new primary school at Inshes, Inverness, a new purpose built primary school for Gaelic pupils at Inverness, as well as new primary schools at Resolis (Cullicudden and Newhall amalgamation), Culbokie and Cawdor.
The 11 schools are being developed by Alpha Schools (Highland) Ltd, a consortium of Morrison PLC and Noble Fund Manager. The construction of Kinlochleven High school and Primary School is being carried out by sub-contractors Tulloch Construction.
Derek Chambers, Morrison Construction’s Project Director for the Highland Schools project, said: “Less than ten months ago the first turf was cut to mark the beginning of the Highland Council’s most exciting school building project. Today, there are nine projects on site – four of which will complete by the end of April – and we are here to celebrate the start of the next, and penultimate, contract, in this very successful partnership with the Highland Council.
“We look forward to continuing this spirit of partnership and are confident that with our experienced and dedicated site management team we will deliver what we do best – that is building quality facilities.”