Highlands & Islands

Strontian's plan to build own school secures funding

Strontian Image copyright Kenneth Allen/Geograph

A community in the west Highlands has secured funding for its plan to build its own primary school.

Strontian Community School Building Limited proposes replacing a mid-1970s primary school building with a new one on another site in Strontian.

The group has received £50,825 from the Scottish Land Fund to buy a plot next to Ardnamurchan High School.

The rest of the funding needed to pay for the school is to come from a loan and community shares offer.

Once built, the building would be leased to Highland Council. The local authority has described the project as "innovative".

The new building would be designed in such a way that it could easily be converted into three terraced houses, or another community facility, in the future.

This conversion would happen if Highland Council later decided to construct its own primary school in the village.

'Ambitious project'

Donald McCorkindale, chairman of Strontian Community School Building Ltd, said the group was delighted to receive the grant from the Scottish Land Fund.

He said: "It is a huge boost not only in financial terms but in the confidence placed in this ground breaking initiative."

John Watt, of the Scottish Land Fund's committee, said: "In Strontian, local people have spoken and decided that they want to purchase land on which to build a new community owned asset, in this case a primary school.

"This unique proposal has both community and public sector support and includes a longer term plan that will see the community owned building designed to be converted into much needed housing in the future."

Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: "I am delighted that, with support from the Scottish Land Fund, the community in Strontian now have the ability to purchase a strategic piece of land in their village.

"The ownership of this will allow them to progress their ambitious and innovative project to initially house the local primary school and, in the longer-term, provide much needed affordable housing."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The new building would replace a primary school built more than 40 years ago

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