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Inverness pupils thank builders as historic Merkinch Primary School enters new phase

By Neil MacPhail

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Merkinch PS pupils thank builders for new school.
Merkinch PS pupils thank builders for new school.

PUPILS from Merkinch Primary School have thanked construction company Robertson and Highland Council’s project team for their new primary school building.

Around 350 children gathered outside the school on Wednesday in their class groups, to show appreciation for the hard work.

Councillor John Finlayson, education committee chairman, said: “It is very exciting to see the fantastic new school building. This will open up opportunities for the school, its staff and its young people, who it was great to see come out to show their appreciation for the hard work which has gone into its construction. We are looking forward to the school moving in later this month.

Head teacher Jillian Kean said: “We wanted to take this opportunity, ahead of the October holidays, to come together and thank each individual who has been involved in our new primary school.

"The coronavirus pandemic has meant our young people, and the rest of our school community, have had to adjust to changes within our school when we returned from lockdown. The new building will not only provide us with extra space and facilities but will help us to focus on our school’s future during these challenging times.”

The smart new Merkinch PS building.
The smart new Merkinch PS building.

Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Construction Northern, thanked the school for hosting the special event, and added: "I am sure the children cannot wait to return from their October break to settle into their new school environment.

“During the development we were able to keep the existing school operational and avoid any disruption to learning.

"Merkinch is the first primary school in the Highlands and the largest school in Scotland to be built using cross-laminated timber, which is more sustainable than traditional methods of construction, and has been proven to positively impact the learning environment. The welfare of the pupils and staff are at the core of the design.

“Robertson Construction is proud to have delivered this state-of-the-art educational facility whilst retaining the original building and its history, safeguarding the legacy of the school which has served the local community for more than a century, and will continue to do so for many years to come through this fantastic new facility.

“We look forward to continuing our work at Merkinch Primary as we undertake Phase 2 over the coming months.”

The new building includes 14 classrooms, ancillary teaching areas, a three-room nursery to support the delivery of 1140 hours of early learning and childcare, nurture rooms, a four-court games hall, and an external multi-use games area.

The second phase of the project will commence later this month. It include the formation of playing fields, and the refurbishment of the original school building to provide new kitchen and dining facilities and accommodation for Merkinch Family Centre by August 2021.

Merkinch PS and Family Centre was procured for Highland Council through Scape Major Works - Scotland. The project is funded through the council’s capital programme with support from the Scottish Government’s investment programme (Scotland’s Schools for the Future) managed by Scottish Futures Trust.

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