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Inverness church hall to be used as school nursery in innovative plan

Crown Church of Scotland has agreed to house two new nursery classrooms for nearby Crown Primary pupils.

A city church has partnered with the Highland Council to provide much-needed nursery space for neighbouring pupils.

Highland Council agreed to a 25-year lease with Crown Church of Scotland to furnish extra nursery classrooms. Without the partnership, the school might have had to sacrifice playground space to expand the nursery on campus.

The church sits next-door to the school and has agreed to allow the school to use its Lower Hall to house the extra pupils.

In return, the council will help the church install a new lift and start an asbestos removal programme.

Morrison Construction will begin work on August 9 to convert the hall into classroom space. It will have capacity for 60 three- and four-year-olds in two new classrooms. Contractors expect to finish the project in December.

A “win win situation”

The partnership coincides with the conclusion of a £130,000 refurbishment at the church, allowing greater storage and a new kitchen and bathroom facilities in the upper hall.

“This is a great example of partnership working…”

-Cllr Helen Carmichael

The council agreed to install a lift to the upper hall and help with an asbestos removal scheme as part of the deal.

Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael said: “This is a great example of partnership working and is a win:win situation for the thriving Crown community.

“We did not want pupils at Crown to lose out on playground space to accommodate the expansion of the nursery classrooms and are delighted that the congregation of Crown Church helped us find a solution.”

Good Samaritans and good neighbours

The nursery pupils will get into the new classrooms using an entrance on school campus that adjoins the church.

Acting head teacher at Crown Primary Bev Douglas called the partnership a positive solution to the school growing nursery roll.

“We value our community partnership with the Church and this exciting project will enable us to develop our partnership work further in many ways.”

Nursery “turning back the clock” at Crown Church

Crown Church recently set up a working group to look into modernising the church building and strengthening bonds with the community.

Crown Church Minister Douglas Robertson said that the new link to the school is a good sign that there are opportunities for his congregation to serve their community.

By welcoming students from the primary school–which was originally owned by the Church in the 19th century–it will be a bit like “turning back the clock,” he said.

“In working with our neighbours at Crown Primary School, we have the chance to strengthen our bonds with our community and signal a very clear message that our church is not afraid of change but is committed to outreach with a very clear sense of Christian purpose.”

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