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Two Lochaber primary schools get ready to become £16million joint campus

Coby Fyfe (left) of Caol Primary School and Emma McPhail of Lochyside Primary School ring the changes as both their schools close ready for the move into the new school behind them
Coby Fyfe (left) of Caol Primary School and Emma McPhail of Lochyside Primary School ring the changes as both their schools close ready for the move into the new school behind them

Pupils at two Lochaber primary schools yesterday celebrated their last day in their old schools before moving into a new £16million joint campus next week.

Caol Primary School and Lochyside RC Primary School – now known as St Columba’s RC Primary School – closed their doors for the last time at the end of the school day.

And the youngsters will now have an extra holiday while staff move all the equipment over to the new campus in Caol, near Fort William, which will open for the first time next Thursday.

Lochyside head teacher Violet Smith described yesterday as “a day of mixed emotions”.

She said: “It was a very emotional day for many of us.

“Quite a lot of the staff, myself included, attended the school as pupils.

“Also for most of the children we have in the school at the moment as their parents and grandparents went through the school before them.

“We’re looking forward to going to our new school, but we are very sad to be leaving Lochyside.”

She added that they had a special assembly yesterday morning and a party during the afternoon.

Miss Smith said: “It’s been a fitting way to say goodbye to the school.

“All the children have been to visit the new school and they are all very impressed by it.”

St Columba’s pupils include former pupils from Fort William RC Primary School, also known as St Mary’s, which closed in August of last year when it amalgamated with Lochyside RC.

Caol head teacher Steven Hamilton said the past week had been very busy with memories shared at assembly last week and a big party on Tuesday.

He said: “This building has done us all well with many happy memories for lots of our community, but now it is our responsibility, staff, pupils and parents, to make the new school just as good and create new memories for this and future generations of Caol’s kids.”

He added that the pupils were very excited about the move – dubbed “the big flit” – to the new campus, which has been built on their doorstep.

The old school is to be demolished to provide parking for the new facility.

The joint campus, built by Kier Construction, also includes a new community centre.

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