The delivery of a much-needed 21st century new school and community hub in a Skye village has taken an important step closer.
A joint initiative between community groups in Broadford has all but secured the land required to modernise the current delapidated state of education facilities in the village.
Campaigners in Broadford have for years been seeking to force the hand of decision-makers to tear down the current school building and replace it with a new modern facility, with work to secure the land earmarked for the project said to be “well advanced”.
The current school building at Broadford has been subject to much criticism over the past few years, with damp in the building said to be the contributing factor to the deterioration of some pupils who have attended the school.
The ambitious community project hopes to provide children with a 21st-century learning environment, as well as integrating community groups under one roof to enhance the community spirit and diversity on offer in the Skye village.
Hamish Fraser, chairman of the working group created to deliver a community facility, praised the united approach being undertaken, and hopes a “healthy and sustainable learning environment” for children can be created, as well as the construction of “a larger community facility for the village and surrounding areas”.
He said: “The group are working in partnership with Highland Council and other service providers, to move forward this innovative project, to provide a shared school campus and community hub.
“It is generally acknowledged that such a partnership will be of enormous educational and community benefit going forward and will potentially generate considerable financial community-based contributions to the project.
“Over the past two weeks the group have engaged with possible long-term users of a community hub and we have had encouraging and positive discussions with West Highland College, NHS Highland, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, Highland Council and Highlife Highland – all of whom fully support and want to be part of this project.”
The school has been shortlisted by the Highland Council as one of 11 schools across the region prioritised for key school investment ahead of the anticipated next round of funding by the Scottish Government into the school estates programme.
Previously, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has visited the school to see first-hand the poor conditions of the present building.
A representative from Broadford Parent Council said: “As well as the concern over the fabric of the buildings at Broadford Primary the very real concern for the Broadford Primary Parent Council is the health implications for the children who are being taught there and those working in the school.
“Broadford Primary has a higher than the average number of asthmatics in the school and an alarming trend of asthma developing when starting at Broadford Primary and improving when children have moved on from the damp, inherently sick environment of Broadford Primary School.
“The Parent Council has raised these concerns time and time again and are hopeful that they are finally being listened to.”
The location of the proposed new facility will be adjacent to the current school building.