Pupils have now finally moved into the new £42 million Lossiemouth High School after building delays caused by the pandemic.
The new building was due to open its doors last summer.
However, the project has been hit with a series of delays as the pandemic halted construction.
On Wednesday, staff and pupils took up residence in the new three-storey school, which can accommodate up to 800 pupils, after 42 years in their old building.
The campus, jointly funded by Moray Council and Scottish Futures Trust, includes community facilities, a swimming pool, library, games hall and 3G sports pitch.
Hub North Scotland developed and delivered the project with construction undertaken by Balfour Beatty.
The school has three learning plazas which can be used flexibly as breakout spaces for group work or year groups or for carrying out Stem projects.
Head teacher, Janice Simpson, said: “As we return fully from lockdown we feel very privileged to be starting the new term in such a beautiful new building.
“We’ve been given a wonderful environment in which to move forward in our learning and are delighted to be able to welcome pupils back to school and support them as we all settle into our new surroundings.”
Hopes that new school inspires staff and young people
Moray Council’s Chief Education Officer, Vivienne Cross said: “The design of flexible teaching and learning spaces will provide a high quality environment that will inspire both staff and young people to achieve their full potential.
“All teaching spaces are on the outside of the building to maximise the natural light and each department has associated breakout space to allow for flexible learning.
“Essentially these spaces have been built to embrace new ways of working, which we’ve all had to adapt to over recent months, and will benefit our learners and the wider community in Lossiemouth for many years to come.”
Overcoming challenges to make the school a reality
Ewen Fowlie, project director for developer Hub North Scotland said: “This has been a brilliant team effort in the face of some challenging conditions, due to covid-19, to deliver a wonderful facility which will be enjoyed by the Lossiemouth community for years to come.
“Not only has it resulted in a fantastic building, but it also created wider community benefits including 20 new jobs, employment for four new graduates, two new apprentices and 12 existing apprentices along with £23 million of work for Scottish small and medium-sized businesses.”
Balfour Beatty project lead Jim McCluskie said: “Despite the challenges we have faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have remained focused on the safe and successful delivery of Lossiemouth High School; harnessing our unrivalled knowledge and expertise in delivering first-class learning facilities across Scotland.”
The next phase of construction will see the demolition of the existing school and community building and the completion of new parking, 3G sports pitch and landscaping.
The new community facilities are due to open to community groups on April 26 in-line with Covid restrictions lifting.
Meanwhile in the Highlands, chairman of the education committee, John Finlayson has welcomed the news that pupils will return to school on Monday.