The £3.2 million project will see the phased demolition of the existing primary school (with the exception of the Hall) and the construction of a new two-class primary school and a fire station, along with the refurbishment of the nursery facility. Works began in spring 2011 and are expected to be complete in summer 2012.
MacGregor Construction (Highland) Ltd were awarded the 57-week contract for the project, which 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. The Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service are contributing £300,000 towards the costs.
Interestingly, Head Teacher Keith Adams is also one of the nine retained firemen who serve the remote Morvern peninsula. He said: “This is something that we have all been eagerly waiting for and it is great to see work underway. The pupils will really enjoy the facilities and, having the fire station incorporated in the school building, I will have no excuse now for being late for a fire call out!”
Councillor Richard Durham, Convener of the Highland and Islands Fire Board, added: “This is a great example of joined up service delivery. Being based in the new premises provides us with a modern facility in the heart of the community.”
The new Lochaline Primary School will comprise two classrooms, a resource area, a community room and a new kitchen. In addition, the nursery unit will be upgraded and the existing school hall will be converted into a dining/gym hall. A floodlit MUGA (multi use games area) will also be provided.
The school has been designed to a high sustainability standard and will feature a biomass boiler.
In April 2011, the turf cutting ceremony was conducted by the children and Fort William and Ardnamurchan Councillors Bren Gormley and Michael Foxley.
Councillor Foxley said: “The School Board, Head Teacher, Education management and I have worked hard over the past decade on the siting and the detailed design of this new community primary school, which will replace grossly sub-standard buildings and provide our staff, pupils, and residents with a modern learning environment. The inclusion of the fire station is the first for mainland Scotland and demonstrates the way forward for shared services in the
There’s a worm at the bottom of my garden
Before works could start on site, the children had some wriggly friends to contend with.
The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was contacted after slow worms were discovered in the school ground. Slow worms, described as ‘legless lizards’, are protected. This means that it is an offence to wilfully kill or injure them.
In September 2010, the pupils embarked on a bid to catch the slow worms and relocate them before building work started on their new school.
The children, who are are all members of the Nature Club, laid out mats, carpet tiles and strips of corrugated iron in their nature garden. When the sun shines, these materials warm up more than the surrounding vegetation and the cold-blooded slow worms can congregate underneath them to bask.
Head Teacher, Mr. Adams, said: “In my early childhood I remember seeing slow worms everywhere, but my own children had to wait until they were twelve before they saw a slow worm. This highlights what a special place the children in my school are privileged to live in. These slow worms are now a protected species and the children in my school have the chance to carry out valuable conservation work, which will ensure that children of the future will be able to see slow worms. I am always telling them that they are the future rangers, botanists, biologists and protectors of our valuable flora and fauna.”