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Ceremony marks start of work at new Wick primary school

25th February 2014

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Photograph of Ceremony marks start of work at new Wick primary school

A turf cutting ceremony was held today (Tuesday 25th February 2014) to mark a start to work on a new £15 million primary school which will serve communities to the north of the River Wick, replacing North and Hillhead Primary Schools.

Pupils from North Primary School and Hillhead Primary School were joined by their head teachers, local Highland councillors and parent council representatives at the site of the new school within the grounds of the current North Primary.

Miller Construction is undertaking the enabling works as principal contractor and has engaged MM Miller (Wick) Limited as its sub-contractor for the works. The initial stage is to provide the pupils at North Primary with a new playground when construction begins on the new school building and to carry out drainage works. This will pave the way for the start of the main contract, which is scheduled to start at the end of April and be completed for the new school opening in August 2015.

This new school comprises14 classrooms, 2 expressive arts rooms; library; 2 nursery rooms, 2 learning support rooms; enhanced provision area for children with specific needs; a games hall – (2 badminton court size) and dining area with storage.

It will also feature administrative offices; a staff work base; medical room and inter-agency meeting room; community room with storage; multi-use games area (MUGA) and grass pitch.

The school is being developed for The Highland Council by hub North Scotland, which is the driving force behind the planning, procurement and delivery of community-based infrastructure projects across the north of Scotland.

Angus Macfarlane, chief executive of hub North Scotland, said: “The focus for our organisation is bringing improvement to community facilities and this is a great example of the work being done in the education sector. It is an innovative project, shaped by the needs and views of local residents, and we look forward to delivering a fantastic new school.”

Miller Construction has been appointed as Tier 1 contractor by hub North Scotland and will lead the build process, working with local contractors and suppliers.

Plans are also advanced to build a new campus in Wick which will include a new primary school to serve the South of the River Wick, merging South Primary School with Pulteneytown Primary and replace Wick High School and provide new community facilities, including a swimming pool and public library. The total value of the investment in Wick schools is more than £50 million.

Councillor Gail Ross, civic leader for Caithness, a former pupil of North Primary School, said: “It is great to see work starting on this exciting new project. Everyone is looking forward to the day when the new school opens, providing the communities to the north of the River Wick with the very best environment in which to learn. I am quite sure that both school communities will come together and flourish in the new building.”

Councillor Deirdre Mackay, Area Leader for Caithness and Sutherland, also has a close link to North Primary, two of her children having attended the school. She said: “These are exciting times for education in Wick, with two new primary schools, a new high school and enhanced community/sports facilities for the east Caithness. The investment is also good for the wider Caithness economy with jobs created in the building industry.”

The pupils from Hillhead Primary School, who attended the ceremony were Niamh Sutherland, Alan Gunn, Alisha Mackay and Calum Forbes.

Those who attended from North Primary were Carly Rosie, Owen Edwards, David Alexander and Abbey Kennedy.

Other councillors who attended were Bill Fernie, Willie Mackay and Matthew Reiss. Councillor Bill Fernie said,"This day has been a long time coming and I am very pleased it is finally here and that over the next two years Wick will see a transofrmation in its schools and community facilities such as the new swimming pool and library. Last night we had our latest meeting of the Wick Stakeholders group to hear that progress on the other schools is going well now and that work will commence soon at the high school site."

See many more photos in the PHOTO GALLERY - link top left.

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