Work is expected to start later this year to convert a former Victorian primary school in Oban into a “life-changing” £3 million centre for the local community.
The former Rockfield primary school, a grade B-listed structure, will be transformed into a space for groups working in arts and culture, history and heritage, health and wellbeing, as well as for exhibitions, music gigs and business workshops.
Oban Communities Trust, which owns the 1870s building, is now seeking tenders for the renovation project and aims to have it open for use by early 2020.
And the Trust is opening a scheme on June 16 for residents to buy shares in the future Rockfield Centre at £50 each, with a minimum £250 investment, to help raise the £500,000 to meet the overall project cost.
Trust chairman Gordon McNab said: “People can buy into the project and invest in the future of the centre. It will be a place for people to meet, to create and be creative, to learn, to have fun.
“There is nowhere in Oban where people can just come and meet, have fun and a laugh and talk to one another. It will be a centre for the community.
“This is going to be a life-changing project – something for kids, for everyone. It will be one of the best things that has ever happened to Oban.”
The Trust bought the 17-room building from Argyll and Bute Council in 2015 for £1,000 following a campaign to save it from being demolished.
Mr McNab said more than £2 million has already been pledged towards the revamp of the old school through a variety of grants and donations over the past year.
Two former classroom huts at the site have already been refurbished and are being used by various community groups. Existing clubs which will benefit from the new facility include a children’s Lego club, yoga classses, a sewing group and a camera club.
Language classes, creative workshops and writing sessions will also be based there.
Mr McNab said the Rockfield Centre will also encourage tourists to stay and spend more money in Oban, with the prospect of activities such as future art exhibitions and music gigs.
He added: “Work will hopefully start at the end of the year and it will take 12 months to build it into something fantastic for years to come.”
For more information on the community shares scheme, which is open until July 31, visit the Rockfield Centre community huts or contact Caroline Boswell on email@example.com or call 07483 308 142.