Construction work was formally – and finally - started on the site of the new Elgin High School yesterday with a turf-cutting ceremony.
The long-awaited start on the 1,000 pupil school comes after a roller-coaster year of wrangles over EU accounting rules and cost negotiations.
Yesterday pupils, parents, local councillors and teaching staff watched the first sods being cut by three of the school’s S4 students and three of the area’s primary pupils.
Head Teacher Andy Simpson said that the new building will match the student’s aspirations.
“As a Head Teacher I am conscious that positive relationships and the quality of learning activities are amongst the most important features for the success of a school,” he said.
“However, first class modern facilities and resources provide an environment which nurtures and encourages such success.
“I know I am speaking for all in the Elgin High School in expressing our delight that the prospect of the new building is now becoming a reality.
“Pupils and staff will soon be able to enjoy the quality of accommodation that matches their aspirations and which will remove many of the challenges that have been endured for a number of years.”
Work on the £28.8million project to provide a new school and sports block will take 18 months to complete. It is expected that the first pupils will commence lessons at their new desks in October 2017.
Once the building is finished the second phase will commence, that of demolishing the old building and creating a 3G pitch, car park and landscaping works to complete the project. This will conclude in June 2018, with the formal handover the following year allowing for the year-long standard maintenance period.
Chair of Moray Council’s Children and Young People’s committee, Cllr Anne Skene, welcomed the start of construction.
“This is a great day for parents, teachers, pupils and the council, so I’m pleased we can finally get on with the job.”
The project was approved by the Moray Council back in February 2015 and financed through the Scottish Futures Trust and hub North Scotland, an independent procurement organisation.
Cllr John Divers, whose ward the school is in, said it’s been a long road.
“I know it’s been frustrating at times for everyone, but we can put that behind us now and look forward to a superb new school,
“The existing building really had its day a long time ago and it’s a long time ago that I started fighting for a new building. So like everyone I’m glad the day has arrived when we start a new era for the High School. We’re going to have a great new building providing the best start for the children of New Elgin.
Local ward Councillor Graham Leadbitter said:
“This is an important day for Elgin and I am absolutely delighted to see the work starting on the ground to build the new High School. It is a huge 30 million pound investment in education for Elgin High pupils, which has been made possible with a substantial 28 million pounds contribution from the Scottish Government combined with investment from the Council.
“It was great to see young people from the High School and all of its associated primary schools taking part in the turf cutting ceremony. They will be among the first pupils to have the direct educational benefit when the school is completed next year, somthing the whole community is very much looking forward to."
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.