A north-east school community has come through dark days to enjoy the benefits of a stunning new home, Provost of Aberdeenshire Bill Howatson said yesterday.
Kinellar Primary in Blackburn was devastated by a New Year’s Day blaze in 2016, that left its nursery and P1 classrooms in ashes.
More than 400 pupils were forced to abandon their school and attended Midmill School in Kintore in the months and years until a replacement facility could be built.
In time, a new £12 million school was approved for the site and it was first opened to pupils in August.
And yesterday, an official opening ceremony was held at the school with Mr Howatson formally cutting the ribbon on the building.
The Provost said it was a poignant moment for everyone connected with the school.
He said: “I am so very proud to mark the opening of this fantastic new facility.
“It stands testament to what a community can achieve by working together, right from those dark early days after the fire when local people rallied round to offer soup and sandwiches to staff, to the lovely reception pupils received from the community in Kintore during their time at Midmill.
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“The team at RS Coaches went the extra mile by offering great kindness to the young people on their daily commute and, by all accounts, colleagues from Morrison Construction couldn’t have been more accommodating when it came to tours and learning experiences for the children.
“This is a big thumbs up to the people of Garioch.
“A great team effort has led to the delivery of an extremely high quality building, on time and on budget, and we’re thankful to everyone who has played their part in that.
The two-storey building has 16 classrooms and is a modern facility in the style of the authority’s other recently-built schools.
The building has been brightened with specially-commissioned artwork which was created by local artists and pupils themselves.
It includes a large oak tree sculpture in the canteen area which has leaves painted by every child.
At the ceremony yesterday, the audience was shown a slideshow of photographs relating to the school’s past and its pupils’ time at Midmill, while pupils also entertained with songs.
The council’s education chairwoman, Councillor Gillian Owen, added: “It’s not only wonderful to see the pupils at Kinellar enjoying their new school but also to reflect on what a fantastic learning experience this project has given them.
“In addition to the educational opportunities – working with artists, the community and the construction team – the pupils have also learned important lessons when it comes to being resilient and flexible.”