OLSPBAM Construction could begin work on the new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School in Dumbarton within weeks after councillors agreed to conclude contracts for the project.

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s infrastructure and regeneration committee yesterday gave their approval for the development to proceed to financial close by 31 March.

The new £25.9 million secondary school in Bellsmyre is likely to be on site next month and could be open to pupils as soon as October 2017.

The school was one of 12 government projects across Scotland delayed while civil servants sought technical advice over the funding arrangements. The issue was resolved late last year and council officers have been working hard behind the scenes to get the project ready for financial close as quickly as possible.

The 1000-pupil school, which is being built on council-owned land in Bellsmyre, has already been granted planning permission so work can begin as soon as contracts are concluded.

The school will feature state of the art classrooms, which will fully support the Curriculum for Excellence, an ICT suite, construction skills area and hospitality kitchen as well as outdoor teaching spaces and an allotment garden. The facility will also include a floodlit all-weather sports pitch for football and hockey, three outdoors games courts, a fitness suite, gyms, games hall with retractable bleacher seating and a flexible social space incorporating performance space. All of the facilities will be available for community use outwith school hours.

The new three-storey school will be fully accessible for disabled pupils and staff with every subject having one teaching room equipped with height adjustable furniture and fittings and an induction loop top support those using hearing aids. In addition the building will incorporate lifts to each floor, ramps and wheelchair accessible toilets.

The school will also have significantly lower energy costs and carbon emissions than the current building.

Councillor Michelle McGinty, convener of educational services, said: “This is great news. Pupils, parents and staff have waited a long time for this new school and I’m delighted that we are now set to go on site and finally begin building a new our Lady and St Patrick’s High School. This new school will not only improve the educational experience of OLSP pupils but will benefit the whole community who will be able to access the fantastic facilities.

“Building a new OLSP has remained a top priority for this council and will mark the completion of the regeneration of the secondary school estate in West Dunbartonshire which has moved thousands of young people from sub-standard buildings into modern, purpose built learning environments.”

The development is being fully funded by the Scottish Government. The council has set aside £550,000 over the next two years to cover costs which are not associated with the construction including the demolition of the existing school in Castlehill.