New office to serve Fort William named
A former school in Fort William, poised to take on a new role serving the community, is to be re-named to mark a new era of delivering public services in Lochaber
As the first phase of regeneration to the former Fort William Secondary school building draws to a close, The Highland Council has announced that the large B-listed building, which includes the modern extension which will accommodate the Department of Works and Pensions and Job Centre Plus on the ground floor, will be called Charles Kennedy Building.
The name is in tribute to the work of the late Charles Kennedy MP who attended Lochaber High School and represented the Highlands from 1983 until 2015.
The project has breathed new life into the listed building which has lain empty for twenty five years, transforming it into new Council offices to serve not just Fort William but the whole of Lochaber. Within the next few weeks Council staff from offices at Lochaber House and Fulton House will begin to move into the new offices.
Phase 2, which will begin once Phase 1 is complete, will see the redevelopment of the adjacent former Fort William Primary School to provide a records store and public archive as well as providing office space for partners.
Councillor Blair Allan who proposed the name for the new offices is delighted that the contribution made to the area but such a prominent public figure will be recognised in this way. He said: “This project is a significant development for the town and brings back to life a much loved building close to many people’s hearts. Charles Kennedy was educated in Fort William and throughout his career was hard working and dedicated to the communities he represented. I think it is very fitting that the new offices which will serve the local community well for many years to come be named in his honour and I would like to thank his family for giving their support.”
Lochaber Committee Chair, councillor Andrew Baxter added: “The new office will allow us to deliver our services more cost-effectively and efficiently. The net annual revenue saving to the Council will be around £100,000 after meeting the capital financing costs.
“By providing a modern, flexible, accessible working environment we are bringing benefits to both staff and customers and freeing up more buildings in the town centre to create more future development opportunities.”