A ceremony was held today (Wednesday) to mark the start of work on the construction of a new primary school which will combine Conon Bridge and Maryburgh Primary Schools in a new building on the existing Conon Bridge site.
The school will comprise 10 classrooms as well as:
- Nursery and wrap-around childcare facilities;
- Two-court sports hall with changing rooms;
- Kitchen and dining facilities;
- School library;
- Community room and kitchen;
- Floodlit multi-use games area.
In anticipation of future population growth, the school has been designed with the potential for future expansion of up to three additional classrooms.
The contractor is Barr Construction Limited. The total cost of the project is £8,900,000 and the school building is expected to be handed over by June 2012. The existing school building will then be demolished to make way for the multi-use games area which will be used by both the school and the community.
The school community will be fully involved in the choice of a name for the new school. Four options have emerged from consultation with pupils, staff and the community. They are: Ben Wyvis; Leanaig; Seaforth and Dunglass, with Ben Wyvis emerging as the favourite.
Pupils will be voting this week for their favourite and their recommendation will be presented to The Highland Council for determination.
The development has been designed and project managed in house by the Council’s Housing and Property Service on behalf of the Education, Culture and Sport Service as client sponsor.
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, was joined by Primary 5 pupils Calum Beaton from Maryburgh Primary and Kerry Wilson from Conon Bridge Primary in cutting the first turfs.
Councillor Fernie said: “The Council is delighted to make this significant investment at Conon Bridge and Maryburgh. The new community school will make a real difference to the learning environment for pupils and staff.”
The four Highland Councillors who serve Dingwall and Seaforth are pleased that work is about to start on the eagerly-awaited new school.
Councillor Angela MacLean said: “This is a bittersweet day for both Maryburgh and Conon Bridge Primary Schools. However, from today with the cutting of this turf we have reached a watershed and from this moment on the two communities will be united in working to support the children and staff in ensuring that this new school will be the best and most exciting facility possible for all.”
Councillor Margaret Paterson said: “Although I am extremely sorry to see Maryburgh Primary close, this is a very exciting time for pupils, parents and staff of both schools. The new school will be a centre of excellence for many generations of pupils to come.”
William Smillie, Construction Director at Barr Construction said: “This new primary school will break new ground in terms of its sustainable features such as a biomass boiler and waste management systems. The project will give opportunities for local subcontractors and suppliers to work with us in creating this state-of-the-art education facility.
“We look forward to the building being enjoyed by all pupils and we are confident it will become a focal point of the community for years to come.
“Working in partnership with the local community, Barr will keep local families informed during the project to ensure safety and minimise inconvenience.”