Scotland’s first community-owned school was officially opened yesterday in Ardnamurchan.
Deputy first minister John Swinney officially opened the school and praised the work of the community in Strontian.
A feature of the school building, that cost £930,000, is that it has been designed to allow a conversion to affordable housing at a future date – if the school is no longer needed.
The building was jointly funded by a commercial loan from Triodos Bank, a payment for tenant’s works from Highland Council, a community share offer that raised over £155,000 and £80,000 in grants from the Scottish Land Fund and Foundation Scotland.
The local community raised £34,000 from funds generated by their community-owned hydro scheme as well as local donations.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It gives me great pleasure to open the first school in Scotland to be developed through a community ownership model.
“The innovative work of parents and the wider Strontian community, alongside construction companies and Highland Council, has given local young people a fit-for-purpose school they can be proud of for years to come.”
Constituency MSP Kate Forbes was also present at today’s ceremony, said: “The opening of a new school is an exciting day for any community, but this is even more special because it is the community who built it.
“I know that it has not been easy or pain-free but this is an incredible day for Strontian and the surrounding areas.”
Jamie McIntyre, chair of the Strontian Community School Building Ltd, said: “We are delighted with our new school and would like to thank all those who made it possible. The end result exceeds our expectations and is a real asset for our community which will help retain and attract young families.”