The Robertson Construction team behind the new Merkinch Primary School received a socially distanced thank you from around 350 pupils and staff following the handover of the building.
The new primary school, which was procured through Major Works – Scotland, part of the Scape National Construction framework for Highland Council, is the first primary school in the Highlands, and the largest school in Scotland, to be built using a Cross Laminated Timber frame.
The extension to the original Merkinch Primary School building includes 14 new classrooms, ancillary teaching area, three-room nursery, nurture rooms, a four court games hall, and an external multi-use games area. All of the works were carried out whilst the school remained operational from modular accommodation that occupied the former playing fields.
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 the extension of our 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 extension 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”.
The school has been designed with the well-being of pupils and staff at its core. The original school has served the local community in Inverness for over a century and the new state-of-the art facilities are a welcome addition to the community.
Frank Reid, regional managing director, Robertson Construction, said: “The new extension at Merkinch Primary school, which adjoins the original Category B listed building which was built in 1876, sees Highland Council further enhance its education portfolio by utilising new construction technologies.
“We are proud to have completed the largest CLT frame school in Scotland, much of the timber has been left exposed and this has been proven to positively impact the learning environment. Merkinch is setting a benchmark for sustainable education facilities.
“It was an honour for the team to receive this personal thank you today from some of the pupils and staff and we look forward to continuing our work in phase 2 as we refurbish the existing facility into new dining and community facilities.”
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of Education Committee, Highland Council, 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.”
Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “Merkinch Primary School has helped to shape the lives of young children across Inverness for more than a century and the new extension is another chapter in the school’s proud history.
“With the structural challenges of a listed building, combined with the new Covid-19 operating procedures, the project team at Robertson and Highland Council deserve huge credit for their hard work and commitment in delivering this school to the highest standard.
“Moreover, it’s great to see the project not only being delivered by local supply chain partners who will continue to benefit from the ongoing increase in investment across the Scottish public sector but also creating a sustainable education facility.”
The school is expected to move into the extension later this month.