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Work set to restart on key Highland school projects; work on Alness Academy, Merkinch Primary and Inverness High School is set to get started again as coronavirus restrictions are eased

By Gregor White

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Inverness High School is being refurbished.
Inverness High School is being refurbished.

Preparatory work to resume construction activity on three key school projects has commenced.

The move, as coronavirus restrictions ease, is a step towards the completion of a new Merkinch Primary in Inverness as well as a new Alness Academy in Ross-shire and refurbishment of Inverness High School.

Contractors will follow Scottish Government and construction industry guidance to ensure a safe return to work and a phased approach to increasing site activity.

Individual plans on the measures required at each location are being developed in conjunction with the council’s in-house project teams and school management, and with particular consideration to the return of pupils and staff in August.

Work on all three projects will continue beyond the start of the new school session in August.

The council says further details will be released as remobilisation progresses and revised completion dates are confirmed.

The projects, with a combined value of over £70 million, are funded through the council’s capital programme, with support of £27 million from the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Schools for the Future investment programme.

Construction work will also resume on a range of other school improvement projects that were suspended in March.

This includes new or refurbished nursery accommodation at Deshar, Durness, Keiss, Rosebank, Tomnacross and Tongue Primary Schools that are all part of the early learning and childcare expansion programme.

Councillor John Finlayson, chairman of Highland Council’s education committee, said: "It is good to hear that work will resume on these important projects which communities are keen to see finished and which will also, I hope, be just the start of work on many more capital school projects across Highland going forward.

"Earlier in the year the council agreed priorities to further improve our school estate in partnership with the Scottish Government and it is important that we are still ambitious to see these plans realised."

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