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Long-term strategy to be established for Culloden Academy's £7.5m extension redevelopment and it will be discussed by Highland councillors on Thursday

By Ian Duncan

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Culloden Academy.
Culloden Academy.

Work is underway on preparing a masterplan that will establish a long-term strategy for the redevelopment of Culloden Academy’s campus.

In May 2018, Highland Council approved a £7.5m extension/refurbishment for the school as a part of the authority’s five-year capital programme.

Councillor Trish Robertson, the chairwoman of Economy and Infrastructure Committee, said: “After visiting Culloden Academy on Tuesday, I am encouraged by how our staff and pupils are coping with the overcrowded conditions and the extra restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are listening and have noted the difficulties currently facing the school. We are installing temporary modular accommodation at the school and discussions are also taking place to identify possible short-term improvements to the existing facilities.

“I look forward to hearing the timetable for building this much awaited extension so our young people can have the space recommended for 21st Century education.”

Construction on the initial phases of work will commence on site in 2021 with the opening of the new extension planned for 2023.

Councillor John Finlayson, the chairman of the Education Committee, said: “The redevelopment at Culloden Academy is one of our many priorities in the refurbishment of the council’s school estate.

"This is a major project and we are working hard to recover from the impact of the pandemic to deliver an excellent learning environment for pupils at Culloden and at other key sites across the Highlands, within the approved funding in our capital programme.

"I wish to thank our pupils and parents for their patience and understanding as we move forward to provide a campus that will support the community for many years to come.”

The work currently being undertaken will establish how the Phase 1 budget will be allocated between the main elements of the first phase; the demolition of the vacant houses; a new synthetic playing field, pavilion and car parking on the additional land; an extension block mainly comprising new practical classrooms; and the refurbishment of the vacated accommodation in the existing main building.

An update will be included in a report to a meeting of The Highland Council on Thursday. A further update will be provided in January 2021 to the school’s Parent Council, along with a proposal to set up a stakeholder group to ensure effective communication.

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