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Source: Scotland – Highland Council

Pupils from Merkinch Primary School thanked construction company Robertson and the Council’s project team yesterday for their new primary school building. Approximately 350 children stood outside of their school, remaining in their class groups, to thank the workers and show appreciation for their hard work.  

Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of Education Committee, 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 is great to see, come out yesterday 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.  

Jillian Kean, Head Teacher of Merkinch Primary School, 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”.  

Frank Reid, Robertson Construction Northern, managing director, said: “Thank you to the school for hosting this special event, 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 School as we undertake Phase 2 over the coming months which will see the refurbishment of the existing school to create dining facilities and a family centre.”

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 school will move into the extension after the October holidays and the second phase of the project will commence thereafter. This will include the formation of the playing fields, and the refurbishment of the original school building to provide new kitchen and dining facilities for the school and accommodation for Merkinch Family Centre by August 2021.

Merkinch Primary School and Family Centre was procured through Scape Major Works – Scotland for the Highland Council. 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. 

Watch this video to view a time lapse of the construction of the Cross-Laminated Timber structure

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