Work to renovate the main building in a £3million project to create The Rockfield Centre in Oban will begin early this year.
The funding package for the arts and cultural centre is being finalised, with a £200,000 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) just announced.
Since the community purchased the former school in 2015, it has been a roller coaster three years which has involved fundraising, alongside offering community activities in the huts in the playground.
Determined to offer arts, culture, heritage and community well being, the huts now see a plethora of classes and activities for all ages.
Tenders for the main build project have been received and the announcement of the successful contractor will be released shortly.
Eleanor MacKinnon, project facilitator, said: “We are very fortunate to have such a committed team who are just as passionate about the project as those based here in the centre. Andrew Pinkerton our building project manager has been working extremely hard with our design team to get everything finalised for the works to begin. The building remains dry and stable just waiting for it’s new life to begin.”
In December a new member joined the existing staff team that runs activities in the community huts. Breege Smyth is job sharing with Rhona Dougall in the Arts and Cultural co ordination role. The winter programme is well under way and lots of plans are in progress for the spring.
Ms MacKinnon said: “One of the most amazing things about the whole project is the amount of volunteering that goes on behind the scene to allow so many of our events to happen.
“This last year has seen more than 8,400 volunteer hours donated to progress this project. These are only the hours that have been recorded but I know of many, many hours that never make it to our tracking system.”
Gordon McNab, chairman of Oban Communities Trust, that is spearheading the project, said: “We are all very excited about the forthcoming few months and everyone is ready to see the start of a new era for The Rockfield Centre.
“All the funding is almost in place and we cannot wait to hand over the keys to the contractors in January 2019 to start the refurbishments. This is going to be a brilliant centre for the town of Oban and Argyll. It will be a centre of exciting, stimulating, cultural and social activities and events.”