School project hits new mile­stone

The Oban Times - - News -

AM­BI­TIOUS plans are mov­ing for­ward for a re­mote Lochaber com­mu­nity to build its own school.

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the first com­mu­nity- owned school in Scot­land has now been sub­mit­ted to the High­land Coun­cil.

Stron­tian Com­mu­nity School Build­ing Ltd (SCSB), the com­pany that owns the land ad­ja­cent to Ard­na­mur­chan High School, hopes plans for the £750,000 school will be ac­cepted by the lo­cal au­thor­ity, en­abling work to start at the end of July.

The Rev Don­ald McCorkin­dale, chair­man of SCSB, said: ‘We hope the plan­ning per­mis- sion will be granted with­out any prob­lems in the next six weeks.’

The school will com­prise two class­rooms to ac­com­mo­date up to 50 chil­dren. Cur­rently the school roll stands at around 35.

Mr McCorkin­dale said a sig­nif­i­cant de­sign fea­ture of the school is that it is built ‘around the foot­print of four houses’.

‘We have to fu­ture-proof this project, and we wanted to come up with some­thing that will be an on­go­ing as­set for the com­mu­nity,’ he said.

‘In 2027, the own­er­ship of Ard­na­mur­chan High School will re­vert back to the High­land Coun­cil, and when plans around the fu­ture of Stron­tian Pri­mary School were dis­cussed, it was sug­gested that at this point, the pri­mary may be re­lo­cated to the high school.

‘If this was to hap­pen, we wanted to make sure the land will still be of use to the com­mu­nity and there­fore could be con­verted into hous­ing.’

Adding an­other piece to the jig­saw, SCSB has had a £700,000 loan granted from Tri­o­dos Bank, which will make up the rest of the bal­ance needed to build the school.

SCSB’s com­mu­nity share of­fer ended at the end of Fe­bru­ary, giv­ing it £150,000 to­wards the project, and at the end of last year it se­cured a £ 50,825 cash in­jec­tion from the Scot­tish Land Fund.

This year money be­gan to flow in from the Su­nart Com­mu­nity Re­new­ables (SRC) hy­dro scheme to the vil­lage’s com­mon good fund.

The fund has given out £ 35,969 to seven dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity groups, one of which was SCSB.

The com­pany re­ceived £24,000 from the Su­nart fund to­wards the school.

Mr McCorkin­dale said the school could be com­pleted by April 2018, with a view to get­ting the chil­dren in for the start of term in Au­gust 2019.

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