Plans unveiled for £54m Highland schools investment

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FIVE schools could be set for up to £54 million of improvement works under new proposals unveiled by the Highland Council.

The local authority said that the significant capital funding investment would look to address the ‘vast and ageing’ school estate, roll pressures and depopulation.

Under the plans, Culloden Academy, Beauly, Dunvegan and Park Primary Schools and St Clement’s School would be in line for improvements. Detailed design and costing works will be undertaken in the summer for the projects, with the council hoping to approve the plans in September.

The council estimates that a cost of £8 to 9 million will be required to increase the capacity of Culloden Academy; whilst a whole campus redevelopment is required at Beauly and Dunvegan Primaries, which it estimates would come at a cost of £12.5 to 15 million – the council explained that Beauly is one of its oldest schools and has some ‘seriously substandard’ buildings.

The investment would also see a replacement built for Park Primary School, which would come at a cost of £14 – 17 million. St Clement’s School is also in line for a new build, which is expected to come at a price in excess of £13 million.

The local authority added that, in addition to the already listed projects, ‘significant’ investments are also required in Fortrose, Tarrandale and Alness primary schools; new primary schools at Stratton and Tornagrain; a new secondary school in east Inverness; and further Gaelic provision in Inverness.

Chair of the Education committee, councillor John Finlayson, said,“Good facilities and a safe learning environment is fundamental for the education of all our young people across the Highlands and a key priority for this administration. This funding is excellent news for parents and pupils and everyone in these five communities. Approval of such significant investment will be the culmination of long-awaited hopes and dreams of very many people in these towns and villages and by progressing these priorities, we enable other school projects to move forward and become a reality. We will be communicating with parents to let them know of the next steps in the detailed planning process.”