Work starts on new schools in Fort William
Turf cutting ceremonies are being held today (Thursday 29 May) in Fort William to mark the start of construction on two new schools for The Highland Council.
Works have commenced on a new school at Lundavra Road to replace the existing Fort William and Upper Achintore Primary Schools; and on a dedicated Gaelic Primary School at Ardgour Road in Caol.
Lochaber Highland Councillors and Members of the Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group were joined by Council officials, and key representatives from contactors GRAHAM Construction at the Lundavara site and Robertson Construction Northern at the Ardgour site.
Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chair of the Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee said: “The turf cutting ceremonies are key milestones in the Council’s very significant capital programme of investment to provide modern schools in the Highlands and Fort William.”
The ceremonies marked the start of the first two of three constructions projects in the Council’s programme of new primary schools for the Fort William area.
At Lundavra Road, GRAHAM Construction is building an eleven classroom school with community facilities that will replace the existing Fort William and Upper Achintore Primary Schools;
Gary Holmes, regional director, GRAHAM Construction said: “We have a solid track record of delivering accommodation in the Highlands. Following the completion of Aviemore Community School and Kingussie High School, we are looking forward to applying our specialist expertise to deliver a high quality teaching and learning space with associated community facilities which Fort William will be proud of.”
Leader of the Council’s Lochaber Area Committee, Councillor Thomas MacLennan said: “This is a great step forward for Fort William and Lochaber – in addition to building these excellent new schools, the Council will ensure that the new buildings act as local hubs with as much access as possible for the community.”
At Ardgour Road, Robertson Construction Northern is starting works on a Gaelic Primary School with community facilities. The school will have four classrooms initially with the capacity to be extended by up to a further four classrooms if required.
Allan MacLeod, Project Director, Robertson Construction Northern said: “We are delighted to be a key player in this exciting, much anticipated, Gaelic Primary school for Lochaber. We look forward to working with the local community to create what will be a wonderful, new facility for the area.”
Welcoming the start of works for Highland Council’s second dedicated purpose-built Gaelic Medium school, Chairman of the Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group, Councillor Hamish Fraser said: “This is another great achievement for Highland Council’s development of Gaelic Education. The new Gaelic school in Fort William will further expand the Council’s commitment to the Gaelic language in a key area of the Highlands.”
Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, said: “Schools are a focal point in any community and it is really good to see the progress being made on these campuses and the work being done to meet the growing demand for quality Gaelic Medium Education across the area. A new generation of pupils can look forward to learning here and I look forward to seeing the completed buildings.”
The third project - at which works are yet to start - include a joint campus building to accommodate an eight classroom school to replace Caol Primary School and a six classroom school combining the existing Fort William and Lochyside Roman Catholic Primary Schools along with the construction of a new Caol Community Centre building. These will be built on the current Caol site and will involve the demolition of the existing community centre and school buildings.