A new £54million school for Inverurie has been backed by councillors.
The Garioch area committee met yesterday to discuss the new facility and gave it unanimous approval.
The decision was reached after a lengthy debate over the loss of the town’s Victoria Park, which will be converted into a car park despite being used for training by Colony Park Football Club.
The new community campus will replace the existing school on its current site, but will be larger – with 73 classrooms or labs, a large dining hall and kitchen and a conference room.
The design will also include various areas for pupils to study outside of the classroom, and spaces for staff to work.
Similar to Aberdeenshire Council’s recently-built schools in Ellon and Alford, the new facility will also be open up to the community to use its sporting amenities and cafe.
These include four swimming pools, an all-weather pitch, seven-a-side pitch and games area.
There were more than 50 objections to the plans because of the loss of the pitch, from SportsScotland and Inverurie Community Council.
East Garioch councillor Glen Reid said: “It’s ironic that one of the biggest sports organisations in Inverurie is going to lose out because of this.”
But architects Halliday, Fraser and Munro said that in the long-term the club would be able to use the school pitches.
In the short term however, the developers are exploring the possibility of putting in place a temporary toilet and dressing room on Market Green, at North Street, to allow the club to use that during construction.
Councillor Martin Ford, also East Garioch, asked planning officers to explore reducing the number of car parking facilities in order to retain more park land.
But Westhill Councillor Ron McKail warned the move would force people into parking elsewhere in the town, where there is already a severe lack of provision.
He said: “This isn’t just a school we are building, this is a community facility and if people can’t park there where are they going to go?
“Every time this committee looks at a proposal for Inverurie people always tell us parking is the biggest issue.”
Construction will begin on the new school next month, with the project estimated to take be finished by February 2021.