The growing population of Lossiemouth will benefit from a new secondary school after councillors gave final approval for a £42 million build.
The development has been hailed as the “final piece of the jigsaw” in the troubled process to build a replacement Lossiemouth High.
Investment in the town’s RAF base is expected to see an influx of new personnel in the coming years and a increase in the number of children requiring schooling.
The new school has been seen as crucial to ensure high standards of education are maintained and classes can accommodate more pupils.
Education chiefs have seen their plans beset by delays, with concerns about sandy soil at the site sending project costs spiralling.
There have also been repeated votes within the council chambers in connection with plans for a swimming pool and its financial implications.
A maximum budget of £42 million was finally set for the build last month – more than £10 million less than had been initially suggested.
And yesterday Moray Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the finalised plans for the school.
Heldon and Laich councillor John Cowe said the announcement would come as a relief to parents of current and future pupils.
He said: “I’m delighted. The important thing is that we have certainty now.
“This was the final piece in the jigsaw so we know it’s going to be happening now.
“A huge amount of work has gone into this from the council and we should have an excellent school to show for it.
“It’s certainly important given the investment in the RAF base and the extra personnel coming.”
Moray Council will pay £15.9 million for the building, which will be built to the south of the current school.
The remainder of the bill will be picked-up by the Scottish Futures Trust.
The school will have an expanded capacity of 800 pupils and will include a community centre, library and artificial football pitch, which will be built on the site of the old school following demolition.
Recommendations were made at yesterday’s planning meeting for some minor changes to the finalised plan.
They included moving the entrance for pupils with additional support needs closer to a drop-off point.
That proposal is under consideration.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “This investment at Lossiemouth is an investment in the future of our young people.
“Nothing can be more important than that and I congratulate Moray Council on keeping education as its number one priority.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead added: “It’s fantastic to see the area benefiting with substantial investment from the Scottish Government to build and refurbish schools.”