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Work finally start on creation of £1.6m new early years centre in Grantown

By Gavin Musgrove

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FINALLY UNDER WAY: The former canteen building and wider premises will become home to a new early years centre.
FINALLY UNDER WAY: The former canteen building and wider premises will become home to a new early years centre.

Long-awaited work costing £1.6 million has finally got under way to improve capacity at Grantown Primary School after the delay caused by the Covid pandemic.

The kitchen and dining room are being relocated from the annex into the main school building in order to create a dedicated Early Learning Centre (ELC).

This will also improve the overall kitchen and dining facilities. Another positive spin-off will see the end of the whole school having to cross the busy main road for lunch, and then back again for the rest of the lunch break.

Local Highland councillor Muriel Cockburn has welcomed the contractor moving on site: “ I am delighted at last that the much-needed improvement works at Grantown Primary School have commenced.

“The teachers, parents and our young people have waited patiently and I hope the completion will be a welcome Christmas present for all connected.”

The project also includes the refurbishment of all of the existing pupil and staff toilets and the reconfiguration of areas in the main building to accommodate the kitchen and dining room and improve the layout.

In the annex, the nursery is being refurbished with new sanitary facilities and enlarged external play area to meet the expansion in delivery of Early Learning and Childcare.

This work – along with the replacement of the original kitchen and dining with a new P1 classroom and general-purpose space with servery – will allow the annex to function as the school’s early years centre.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “The works were originally programmed to be carried out in 2021 but were postponed due to the pressures facing the construction industry during the pandemic.

“Works commenced at the start of this month, with the initial phase to address the nursery classroom and facilities over the summer holiday period and are expected to be completed by the end of December 2022.

“Works are being phased to ensure that the school continues to operate throughout term time across the whole site.

“The project will significantly improve the educational environment for pupils and staff.”

The spokeswoman added: "Rising costs as a result of global and national circumstances have impacted on construction projects across the UK in recent weeks and months.

"Therefore, members have agreed a review of the capital programme after the summer, which will look at the phasing of the programme of works for the Council’s capital projects.”

The works were need to better accommodate the Scottish Government’s flagship programme – introduced in August last year at the nursery – for 1140 hours of early learning and care annually.

Building works were also held up last year because of roosting bats.

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