Councillors back new £15.4m Balloch school campus

St Kessog's Primary School
St Kessog’s Primary School

West Dunbartonshire Council has voted to build a new purpose-built education campus in Balloch incorporating two primary schools, an early learning and childcare centre and an additional support needs base.

Plans to construct the £15.4 million facility, which will accommodate an amalgamated Haldane and Jamestown primary school, a co-located St Kessog’s Primary School and the pre-school and support needs centres, were approved at the Educational Services committee yesterday.

The new campus on the existing St Kessog’s site will educate almost 500 children and replace substandard schools with modern, efficient buildings which will encourage imaginative learning for pupils and innovative teaching. Pedestrian and vehicle access will also be enhanced with plans to create a new route into the site.

All three of the current buildings are C rated, which means they are showing major defects and not operating adequately. In addition they are under-occupied.

To facilitate the construction, St Kessog’s pupils and staff will vacate their building and temporarily move into Haldane Primary from August this year until the new facility is opened in August 2017. Jamestown Primary and the adjoining early education centre will remain in their current buildings until the new campus welcomes pupils.

The council is using £8.15m to fund the project which had originally been reserved for the new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School. This follows the Scottish Government’s decision to increase its funding for OLSP from 67 per cent to 100 per cent. In addition a further £7m will be contributed from the council’s Capital Programme.

Councillors also approved plans to invest £1.5m to regenerate primary schools in Bonhill.

St Ronan's Primary
St Ronan’s Primary

The project will refurbish both St Ronan’s and Ladyton primaries, which currently have major defects, to ensure they can fully meet the needs of pupils and staff. In addition, a new 3G pitch will be constructed at Ladyton.

St Ronan’s Primary will relocate to the upgraded Ladyton building in August 2015 and Highdykes and Ladyton Primary Schools will amalgamate and move into a refurbished St Ronan’s building.

Councillor John Mooney, depute convener of educational services, said: “Along with the new schools, I welcome the fact that the new campus includes an Additional Support Needs Centre which will enhance existing provision by offering support to up to 36 primary school children with a range of needs. We are delivering for young people in West Dunbartonshire and during this administration will construct new secondary schools for Our Lady and St Patrick’s and Kilpatrick pupils, two new primary school campuses in Balloch and Bellsmyre Dumbarton, refurbished schools in Bonhill and enhanced pre-school facilities.”

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