More than £27,000 was raised for the first community-built school in Scotland in a single day of a share offer scheme for the project being launched.
Community leaders in Strontian, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, aim to own, fund and develop a new primary school and lease it to Highland Council.
Last Friday a launch event was held to attract potential investors for the project who will then receive shares.
The local authority said it could not afford to replace the village’s existing dilapidated primary school and backed the Strontian Community School Building Ltd (SCSB) to raise its own finances.
The community benefit society hopes that a minimum investment of £100,000 will be reached in time for work to start on the new facility in March next year.
Yesterday the society’s chairman Rev Donald McCorkindale said that the £27,000 investment comes from a group of up to nine SCSB members. He added: “We’ve certainly got off to a very promising start. It’s been incredibly encouraging and we are also aware of many people who have said they will be investing but not until after the Christmas period.
“The share offer is certainly open to people beyond the area. It’s a good investment and we are hoping to be able to pay 3% interest after the rental starts coming in.”
The share offer runs until February 28 next year but if the capital is raised quickly then the offer may close sooner.
The minimum investment for local residents is £150 and £300 for others. Investors can buy any number of shares in multiples of £50 from the minimum up to a maximum of £25,000.
Investments will be confidential and there is an option to pay in installments.
The new school project is expected to take the form of a lease commitment of £55,000 per year.
The council, as tenant, would assume responsibility for maintenance and running costs of the building.
Residents opted to build their own school after learning that the council could not afford to replace the existing dilapidated 34-pupil, two-classroom primary.
In August, the society’s plans won the approval of the council’s education, children and adult services committee.
The full council approved the committee’s recommendation that the community should be allowed to build the new school on a site next to Ardnamurchan High School.