One of Inverness’s most deprived areas is to have a new ‘education campus’ in plans approved by Highland councillors yesterday.
The Merkinch campus fronting onto Carse Road will encompass an L-shaped modern primary and nursery block, with courtyard, astro-turf pitch, and multi-use games area.
It’s the end of an era spanning almost a century and a half for the original Merkinch primary, housed in a listed Victorian building on Telford road.
The original building will be retained as part of the campus, housing the school dining room and a family centre.
In recent times, the overcrowded school has spilled out into portable buildings.
Local councillors welcomed the development.
Inverness Central councillor Richard Laird told colleagues at the South Planning Applications committee in Inverness yesterday that describing the project as ‘extending Merkinch primary’ vastly understated the case.
He said: “It’s a complete early years to primary facility plus support for families and improvement in sports facilities. It’s an elegant solution to a whole number of challenges, and has been met with almost unanimous support by the community.”
He added: “At the moment the primary school is surrounded by a 2 meter fence topped with barbed wire. This is being replaced by a one meter high fence. We’re showing massive confidence in this community.”
Councillor Janet Campbell said she was delighted by the news.
She said: “Good things are already happening in Merkinch Primary but this new development will transform the whole educational experience for pupils and teachers alike.
“It will also enhance opportunities for our young people to attain and achieve their full potential, helping them to become even more confident and successful in this new learning environment.”