Site of former Aberdeenshire school up for sale

Mearns AcademyThe former Mearns Academy building in Laurencekirk is to be demolished and the site placed on the open market following agreement from Aberdeenshire Council.

Councillors on the policy & resources committee agreed to dispose of the building but to retain the playing fields among a raft of decisions regarding school upgrades across the county.

The Laurencekirk Development Trust had expressed interest in developing the Mearns Academy building and playing fields with councillors previously granting two time extensions for the creation of an appropriate business case. Councillors stressed that the door remained open to the Trust to come back with proposals for how they might use the field site, described as more “manageable”.

The committee were generally supportive of the Trust’s vision that the site should benefit the local community and said that would be taken into account when a decision on its future is made.

Chair of the committee and council Co-Leader, Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes, said: “The committee was unanimous in its support for the efforts of Laurencekirk Development Trust in looking to the future.

“With support from the local area management team, the group has put in a huge amount of work into looking at the future options available for the former Academy and I’d emphasis that our decision to demolish the building and create a brownfield site opens up those options.”

Vice-chair and Co-Leader, Cllr Richard Thomson, added: “We appreciate that local residents are very interested in making sure the site is used in a way that benefits the community and that will be taken into consideration once the site is available to be put on the open market.”

At the same meeting, councillors agreed to demolish the former Ellon and Alford Academies, both of which have also been replaced with state-of-the-art community campuses, and also to build a new primary school in Kinellar.

The new school, which will accommodate 450 primary and 40 nursery pupils, will be built on the site of the current one, which is to be demolished.

Due to open in early 2017, the project also includes a new multi-use games area, a life skills room and sensory room for pupils with additional support needs, a new community play park and car parking for use by the school and community.

A planning application can now be submitted with community consultation ongoing.

As well as approving the replacement Kinellar Primary, councillors agreed the council should move forward with plans for various upgrades at a number of other Aberdeenshire schools.

Construction of a £1.3 million nursery extension at Aboyne Primary School will now begin this summer with work expected to be finished in early 2017.

The new nursery will replace the temporary accommodation currently used and will be able to accommodate 50 children between the ages of two and five years old. The school entrance will also be improved and the former nursery area converted into a space for general use.

Councillors also approved an extension to Bervie School which is expected to cost an estimated £1.9m. The new nursery will have capacity for 50 children and will include a coats’ area, parents’ room, quiet area, changing room, toilets and kitchen area, as well as a flexible teaching space for primary pupils.

Two new outdoor play areas will also be built for nursery and P1 pupils and as part of the council’s push towards sustainable energy, photovoltaic solar panels will be installed on part of the new roof.

Finally, Kemnay Academy will soon sport a new all-weather pitch, allowing the school to introduce sports that currently cannot be played, such as hockey, into the curriculum and for outdoor PE lessons to take place all year round.

Currently there is not a full-sized 3G pitch in the Kemnay area and the new addition will serve not only school pupils but local sports teams and wider community.

Share icon
Share this article: