CLT structure complete at Highland primary

John Swinney and Finlay Black tour Merkinch campus
John Swinney and Robertson’s Finlay Black tour the new campus

THE largest school in Scotland to be constructed using a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) frame is making good progress.

Deputy First Minister and education secretary John Swinney recently paid a visit to Merkinch Primary, which is also the first primary school in the Highlands to be built with this method. The campus, which is being built by Robertson, features an L-shaped primary and nursery block, with a courtyard, astro-turf pitch and multi-use games area.  

The listed Victorian building, which has housed the school for almost 150 years, will be retained to accommodate the school dining room and family centre. 

Mr Swinney said, “It is fantastic to see the progress already made on the construction of Merkinch Primary School, one of 117 school construction or refurbishment projects supported through Scotland’s Schools for the Future. The innovative construction preserves the current B-listed building while employing cutting-edge techniques to create a modern campus the whole community can be proud of. I look forward to seeing it again when completed.”

Construction of the new school started in February, while work on the CLT frame began in April.  Frank Reid, MD of Robertson Northern added, “It has been a privilege to show Mr Swinney and the rest of the attendees around Merkinch Primary School now that the timber structure is complete. This is an important milestone in the project and really highlights how much of a radical change this will bring to the education campus.”

Commenting further on the impact of the use of timber frames within learning environments, Bruce Wright, project architect at Norr commented, “Numerous studies have shown the positive impact timber can have on the occupants of a building, from reducing stress levels to boosting productivity and improving mental and physical wellbeing.”