The future of a rural Aberdeenshire school that was shut because of an oil leak almost two years ago will soon be discussed by councillors.
Gartly Primary School, near Huntly, was closed to all pupils and staff in December 2018 after children started to feel sick and went home smelling of kerosene.
All of the 23 pupils and nursery children were moved to Rhynie’s school instead.
Since then, Aberdeenshire Council has been working to engage with the local community about what comes next for the school.
A report which will go to the Marr Area Committee later this month is expected to outline a number of options, including reinstatement or closure.
Bringing the building back into full use is estimated to cost £872,000 – which is on top of £451,000 that has already been spent on remedial works at Gartly School.
Marr Area Committee chairwoman Moira Ingleby said: “We appreciate the pressing nature of this from the Gartly community’s point of view and we have been pushing to get this back on the table at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I think it’s really useful that parents as well as community representatives have now had the opportunity to have a further discussion with senior officers and we will look forward to considering the updated report.”
Fighting for school’s future
The Save Gartly School group has argued the school should be made safe again, and the hefty price tag is worth paying for the community.
Charlotte Whitley, a mother of a Gartly pupil, said: “The feeling in general among the community is very much still that Gartly should be reinstated.
“We appreciate that it’s a big sum of money, but we need to view it as an investment that will have a big effect on the future of the whole Strathbogie area.
“We wouldn’t be against replacing the school if they looked at that, but we just need to make sure it serves our local area and isn’t moved to another site further away.
“I know the council is under a lot of pressure because of Covid-19.
“We’re really going to have to fight for its future, but it’s what we’ll be doing.”