A Stonehaven primary school could expand into the empty sheriff court building to help ease the demand for pupil places.
Opening up the landmark property to youngsters from neighbouring Dunnottar Primary is one option being put forward by the Stonehaven Town Partnership.
The group has until the end of March to come up with suitable uses for the court building, which closed in June.
The Scottish Court Service will sell the prime property on the open market if no workable plan emerges.
Early discussions have been held with Aberdeenshire Council officials over the schools idea.
Other proposals include a station for the town’s land train, small shops, a tourist information office and a health centre.
David Fleming, trustee of Stonehaven Town Partnership, said: “There is a significant problem at the school regarding capacity and this could be one way forward.
“The council has so far been willing to listen.
“There are a number of options for the building and it is now down to the community to tell us what it would like for the benefit of the town.”
Councillor Raymond Christie, Labour member for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said he could not see the scheme offering a long-term solution to demand for primary places in Stonehaven.
He said Dunottar was currently about 20% over capacity with pupils taking gym classes at the town hall and St Bridget’s church and a rezoning exercise might be needed to redraw the catchment areas for Stonehaven schools.
He said: “What is standing between the court building and another school is the police building. The police, as far as I am aware, are staying where they are.
“I don’t think the court building is an ideal solution to the school capacity issues. It could perhaps be a stop gap.”
Alex Johnston MSP (Conservative, North East) said: “While I am delighted to have suggestions that would take the building forward, it is vital that the police station is retained.
“The government decision to close the court was based on a business case that the Scottish Court Service would recover the value of the building. They are not going to give it away for nothing.”
Craig Clement, head of resources and performance for education and children’s services, said: “Aberdeenshire Council is aware of the concerns that have been raised regarding capacity at Dunnottar Primary School and discussions will continue with local stakeholders over the issue.”